Banknotes of the Swiss franc (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In a recent Gallup poll, 28% of Americans named gold as the best long-term investment. Real estate was second at 20%, followed by a tie for third place for paper assets like stocks and savings accounts at 19%, and bonds trailing last at only 8%. The findings were reported as part of Gallup’s April update of its annual Economy and Personal Finance poll.
This could suggest that a lot of Americans have gold on their minds as they fret about the instability and uncertainty of other assets they hold. When many give up on other assets in frustration, gold would be the most likely to benefit.
The Governments of the World Could Gradually Move Toward a New Gold Standard
An immediate return to a 100% gold standard is probably impossible. What we’re seeing, however, is something more healthy and gradual – the birth of a few gold-backed paper currencies, here and there.
Switzerland is probably the most gold-friendly nation on earth. Bloomberg reported last week that Switzerland’s Parliament is now considering the launch of a new currency which would be directly linked to gold, a gold Swiss franc with a face value of five Swiss francs (now valued at about $5.25). While the paper Swiss franc would remain the official currency of the country, the gold-backed franc would also circulate.
The Swiss franc has been the strongest currency of the “paper money” era, which began in 1971, when President Nixon took America off the postwar gold exchange standard. Back then, the Swiss franc was worth $0.23. Now, it trades at $1.05, more than a dollar, representing a 357% increase to the U.S. dollar.
The new Swiss gold-backed 5-franc note would be backed by 0.1 grams of gold. This would give the average Swiss family a chance to own gold cheaply.
U.S. States are also launching gold-backed State laws. As we have reported before, Utah was the first state to give legal tender status to gold and silver. Then, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington joined Utah in considering various gold and silver legal tender measures. Now, Missouri joins the fold. This month, the Missouri General Assembly is considering the passage of the “Missouri Sound Money Act of 2012,” which would make gold and silver legal tender in Missouri.
These measures will not suddenly raise the price of gold, but the continuation of gold-friendly state and national government acts will put a floor under the price of gold and lead toward a future gold standard between nations, if nations continue to abuse the printing press. We can look for gold to surpass $2,000 if nations actually back some of their paper by gold, and then $5,000 or more if gold currencies become the norm in multiple nations on several continents – say, in India, China, Switzerland, Germany and resource-rich nations like Canada, Australia, Brazil, Peru, South Africa and other gold- or silver-producing nations.
Here in the U.S., the economic health may be more difficult to get a true handle on because of all the self-serving comments about the state of the economy from political parties in an election year.
But one thing we do know is that the real U.S. debt deficit is nearly four times what the government reports. They say it’s $1.3 trillion a year, a staggering, incomprehensible burden in its own right. But when liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other retirement programs are taken into account, the deficit is actually running about $5 trillion per year. Companies, states, and local governments must report retirement liabilities in their financial statements. But Congress conveniently exempts the federal government from this requirement. Regardless of the accounting smoke-and-mirror tactics by Washington, the money is still owed…period.
That means America hangs perilously close to a Euro-style sovereign debt crisis. The dollar has been strong against the euro and other fiat currencies, but only because it’s the best-looking horse on the way to the glue factory.
If a major economic/financial event is in the works, as investment wonks like Marc Faber predict, initially it could mean more volatility for gold as it gets temporarily pulled down in the undertow of panic selling and margin calls in the equity markets. But a strong gold rebound would likely follow as gold reasserts in its safe haven role and is lifted by the probability of Fed intervention with QE3. More liquidity points to inflation, and that’s good for gold. This could well prove to be a pivotal year for the global economy, world markets, and for gold.
Mike Fuljenz is the editor of the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) award-winning “Michael Fuljenz Metals Market Weekly Report,” and the numismatic consultant for First Fidelity Reserve. His award-winning radio show can be heard on KLVI News Talk AM 560 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. CST on the last Monday of the month.