In Gold we Trust

Rising demand for gold and silver reflect the failure of central banks to maintain price stability and efficient functioning of credit markets. Private investor mistrust of fiat currencies was historically an emerging market problem, with countries like India and China holding large private savings in the form of precious metals or real estate.  But now growing US fiscal problems have caused mistrust to spread to the global reserve currency as central banks reduce exposure to the Dollar and increase purchases of gold bullion.

Stocks & Treasuries

The S&P 500 respected support at 5250, the short harami candle indicating uncertainty. Breakout above Thursday’s high would confirm our target of 5500.

S&P 500

Ten-year Treasury yields are testing resistance at 4.5% but the short candle and weak close look tentative and respect is likely.

10-Year Treasury Yield

Gold & Silver

Gold is likely to test support at $2,300 per ounce. Respect is likely and would confirm that the up-trend is intact.

Spot Gold

Silver is similarly poised to test support between $29 and $30 per ounce. Respect of support is again likely to confirm the up-trend.

Spot Silver

Gold Demand from the East

Ronnie Stoeferle — managing director of Liechtenstein-based asset manager Incrementum AG and author of the annual In Gold We Trust report — says that 70% of gold demand is now from the East. Mainly China and India but supported by buying in Vietnam, Thailand and lately Japan.


Jeff Currie — chief energy strategist at the Carlyle Group and former Global Head of Commodities Research at Goldman Sachs — says that central banks are now recycling commodity surpluses into Gold, not Dollars. When prices are high, crude oil producers generate trade surpluses which they historically have invested in Dollar-based assets — mainly US Treasuries — but are now investing in gold.

The Saudis and Russia are increasingly selling crude oil and gas in Yuan and Rupees which they then use to import goods from China and India. Any remaining surplus is then used to purchase gold as they do not want to hold the currencies in their official reserves. Physical gold is flowing from West to East, to meet increased demand, and driving up prices.

The change has caused a dramatic divergence between gold (brown below) and real long-term interest rates, represented by the TIPS yield (blue) below.

Gold & TIPS Yield

Source: Gainesville Coins

The scale of increased demand and its impact on gold prices is not hard to imagine when one considers that global crude oil production is more than 13 times the Dollar value of total gold output.

USD Value of Gold & Crude Oil Production

Source: FFTT

Central Bank Purchases

China and India are ranked among the top 10 countries in terms of official gold holdings.

Official Gold Reserves by Country - Top 10 Holdings


But many purchases are not made through official channels and go unreported. Jan Nieuwenhuijs estimates that the PBOC actually held close to 5,550 metric tons1 at the end of Q1 2024.

Quarterly Central Bank Gold Buying

Source: Gainesville Coins

Private Purchases

Private gold holdings in China and India dwarf official reserves.

China’s private sector holds approximately 25,700 metric tons2 at the end of Q1 2024, according to Nieuwenhuijs.

India’s gold market is similar in size, with private investors holding between 24,000 and 27,000 metric tons of gold jewellery and bullion according to Blue Hill Research.


Gold demand is driven by a lack of faith in fiat currencies — whether it be US Dollars, Chinese Yuan or Indian Rupees — to maintain their value. Private investors are buying gold as a store of value while central banks are recycling trade surpluses into gold, rather than holding fiat currencies.

Silver and Copper are becoming the “poor man’s gold”, with price-sensitive buyers switching from gold into silver and copper as they grow relatively cheaper.

Countries with high private gold investment are likely to experience low rates of growth. Keyne’s Paradox of Thrift illustrates how savings parked in assets like gold and silver crowd out investment in productive assets, leading to lower growth in output.

Savings invested in debt and equity markets, by comparison, are largely channeled into investment in productive assets3 that contribute to GDP growth.

Efficient credit markets are the lifeblood of the economy, ensuring the transfer of savings into productive investment. Demand for speculative assets — such as precious metals and much real estate — reflect the failure of central banks to maintain price stability. Inflation increases investment risk in debt markets, leading to higher interest rates and increased demand for speculative assets, lowering economic growth. Inflation also accentuates the boom-bust cycle as central banks flip-flop between restrictive and stimulative monetary policy in an attempt to undo the consequences of their failed monetary policies.

The world is edging back towards a “gold standard” of sorts, where trade surpluses are converted to gold — or some other commodity like silver, copper or crude oil — rather than held as currency reserves. While not a perfect system, this would impose greater fiscal discipline on sovereigns, including the US, and contribute to increased price stability. It would also reduce the role of the US Dollar as global reserve currency and help to stem the damage done to the US economy over the past forty years by this “exorbitant privilege”.


  1. Estimated total PBOC gold holdings are 5,358 metric tons at the end of 2023 plus 189 tons in Q1 of 2024.
  2. Estimated total private gold holdings in China are 23,745 metric tons at the end of 2022 plus 1,411 tons in 2023 and 543 tons in Q1 of 2024.
  3. Debt that finances investment in speculative assets — producing low returns, like many real estate investments — does not contribute much to economic growth.