Campbell Harvey, a professor at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, and his research colleague asset manager Claude Erb, have completed a comprehensive study which shows findings that run counter to the traditional view that gold is an investment hedge against inflation.
Here are some of the key findings from the research:
- For almost all reasonable investor time horizons gold is not an effective inflation hedge.
- For most real world circumstances gold is not an effective currency hedge.
- The real price of gold rises and falls with the short-term supply and demand imbalances.
- There is not enough gold in the world to satisfy the possible demand from China and India.
- The price of gold may rise because of a surge in demand unrelated to inflation.
- This creates a "damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't" dilemma: buy an overvalued possible inflation hedge because someone else might come along and pay more for it or avoid a possible inflation hedge just because it is expensive.