Review & Outlook – April, 2015

Reflections in a Golden Eye

Rejection, repatriation and redemption in the gold market

germanmoney

Caveat venditor

Let the seller beware! The German citizen/investor who put away a few rolls of 20 mark gold coins (.2304 tr ozs. shown below) in 1918 would have done so at 119 marks per ounce. By early 1920 the previous rapid inflation had suddenly given way to deflation. Had that gold owner decided to cash in on gold’s significant gains thinking runaway inflation was over, a 100,000 mark investment would have made him or her a millionaire. The glow, however, would have quickly worn off. By late 1921 the runaway inflation had resurfaced but now with a vengeance. Gold shot to 4,000 marks per ounce. By mid-1922 gold reached 10,000 marks per ounce and the wholesale price index went from 13 to 70.  By late 1922, the roof caved in. Gold traded at 134,000 marks per ounce.  In January, 1923, it cracked 1,000,000 marks per ounce.  By midyear, it broke the 100 million marks per ounce barrier and at the peak of the hyperinflationary breakdown, it sold for over 100 billion marks per ounce.  The individual who thought he or she had the cat by the tail and cashed-in his or her golden chips during the 1920’s deflation became a millionaire. In short order though, that millionaire became a pauper as wave after wave of hyperinflation washed over the German economy. One moral from this somewhat frightening tale is that becoming a millionaire or even a billionaire on one’s gold holdings was inconsequential. Another is not to give up one’s hedge until there is ample evidence that it is no longer needed. Momentary nominal profits can be illusory.

Caveat venditor!

Also:
New Fix same as the old Fix
Federal budget myths and reality
How gold benefits from the yuan’s challenge to the dollar
The potential effects of the gold repatriations on the rest of the market

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