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Firm warns: ‘Peak gold’ likely now, prices could become volatile

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Since starting its slide in 2000, the world-wide production of gold has finally hit “terminal decline,” according to reports citing Barrick Gold, the largest gold miner in the world.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph during a London gold conference, Barrick President Aaron Regent said that one could argue that Earth has reached “peak gold,” as new supplies of the ore are increasingly difficult to find.

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“The supply crunch has helped push gold to an all-time high, reaching $1,118 an ounce at one stage yesterday,” the paper noted. “The key driver over recent days has been the move by India’s central bank to soak up half of the gold being sold by the International Monetary Fund. It is the latest sign that the rising powers of Asia and the commodity bloc are growing wary of Western paper money and debt.”

The report continued: “China has quietly doubled holdings to 1,054 tonnes and is thought to be adding gradually on price dips, creating a market floor. Gold remains a tiny fraction of its $2.3 trillion in foreign reserves.”

However, in an interview with The Financial Times, Regent cautioned that gold is still susceptible to sell-offs.

“Mr Regent said he expected the gold price to generally trend upward, supported by weakening currencies, rising investment demand, and tightening supply,” according to the Times. “But he said the price could be highly volatile.”

Reuters added: “‘There is no reason why we should expect gold not to sell off,’ the paper quoted Aaron Regent as saying. ‘It is a commodity like any other.’ Gold XAU= shot up to another record at $1,121.60 an ounce on Thursday as a weaker U.S. dollar lifted the metal’s appeal as an alternative investment to currencies. Bullion has now renewed record highs for six out of the past eight sessions. But Regent said forecasts of the long-term gold price falling below $900 an ounce were ‘on the light side’, adding that bullion remained susceptible to sell-offs despite its bullish outlook.”

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Barrick is currently in the process of closing its hedge book, generally considered to mean the company is betting on the price of gold to rise. Hedging is a method gold traders use to protect profits from price volatility.


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