Mark Mobius has turned bullish on gold. Should you buy the yellow metal?

Karan Deo Sharma
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Mark Mobius has turned bullish on gold. Should you buy the yellow metal?

Mark Mobius has turned bullish on gold. Should you buy the yellow metal? buying gold 2021 30 stades

Last week, veteran investor and Mobius Capital Partners Founder Mark Mobius advised investors to have at least 10 percent of their portfolio in physical gold to protect their purchasing power. He expects a significant devaluation in the world’s major currencies next year following the unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus rolled out by major economies to fight the COVID19 pandemic.

Mobius' contra call on the yellow metal came after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hinted at a slower than expected withdrawal from easy monetary policy in his latest speech on August 27. It led to an immediate rally in risk assets globally and fuelled fresh concerns about global inflation and currency devaluation.

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The simultaneous devaluation in the world’s major currencies such as the US Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen and British Pound Sterling can only happen in two ways – a rise in consumer inflation that reduces the purchasing power of holders of these currencies or through a rise in gold prices that devalues fiat currencies relative to gold prices. Consumer inflation has been on the rise across the globe for nearly a year now but gold has been a laggard.

The contra call on gold by Mark Mobius means he expects the yellow metal to rally from the current levels with a possibility to beat competing asset classes such as equity and real estate.

So should you heed his advice and start accumulating gold at current levels? A cursory look at the historical data on gold and equity prices give a lot of credence to Mobius’ advice.

Also Read: Why it’s time to invest in gold right now

In the last 12-months, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up nearly 24 percent while gold prices (in US dollar) in the spot market is down by nearly 8 percent. This has created a big performance gap between these two asset classes.

Money supply continues to grow

In the meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve -- which sets the tone for the global monetary policy -- continues to pump liquidity in the financial markets. The Federal Reserve Bank monetary base, which determines the money supply in the US economy and by corollary globally, is up 27.5 percent in the last year from US$ 4.8 trillion at the end of August last year to around US$6.1 trillion currently. 

Also Read: How to get the right mix of equity, gold and fixed income in your investment portfolio


In all, the Fed monetary base is up by $2.7 trillion or nearly 80 percent since February 2020.

Monetary base or high powered money includes all currency in circulation, bank deposits and bank reserves deposited at the Federal Reserve. In short, the monetary base is the sum of all monetary assets that can be used to buy any goods, services or financial assets in the economy.

In the same period, the total balance sheet of the US Federal Reserve expanded by nearly 18 percent from US$ 7 trillion to US$ 8.33 trillion now. The result has been an abundance of liquidity in the global financial market. So far a large part of this liquidity has gone into equity markets, real estate, industrial commodities and alternative assets such as bitcoins.

Also Read: Why gold is your best bet amid COVID-19 uncertainty

Liquidity lifts all assets

But it’s a matter of time before some of the liquidity starts flowing in the gold market as well. 

The historical data suggests that gold and equity move in a cycle but seldom together. 

In other words, when one does better the other lags behind. For example, the spot gold prices in the US dollar is up 228 percent since January 2006 against a 22 percent rise in Dow Jones Industrial Average during the period. (Chart-A)

So while both asset classes have given similar returns over the long term, their short-term performance varies a lot.

For example, gold outperformed Dow by a big margin between 2007 and 2011 but was a big laggard for the next seven years even as stock prices across the world made new highs. Gold again began to rally from September 2018 and out-performed Dow Jones for the next two years by a big margin.

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Dow Jones Index to Gold Price Ratio  MARK MOBIUS 30 STADES SHOULD YOU BUY GOLD

And in the last one year, equity has been one of the best asset classes while gold has given negative returns after touching a new lifetime high. 

Dow-Gold Price Ratio

This cycle suggests that it’s a matter of time before gold once again comes on top and leads the next cycle of the rally in asset prices as long as central banks continue monetary expansion.

A continued rally in equity markets and a decline in gold prices means that the stock prices are now very expensive compared to the yellow metal. 

This valuation measure is captured by the Dow to gold price multiple which is the ratio of Dow Jones Industrial Average value divided by the spot gold prices.

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At its current level of around 35,400 a unit of the Dow Jones index is nearly 20 times more valuable than an ounce of gold in the US spot market. This is nearly 35 per cent higher than the ratio of the 15-year median value of 14.3X. Historically this ratio has oscillated around this median value -- rising when it falls too low and correcting when it gets too high. The reversion to means happens through the relative out-performance and underperformance in gold prices relative to equity. (Chart B)

The current low prices of gold offer the perfect opportunity for long-term investors to start accumulating yellow metal. 

Don't get discouraged if it continues to underperform for some months more. In 2007, the gold rally had started from Dow to gold ratio of 21X while the 2018 rally had started from a ratio of 22X. So start buying and don't wait to catch the bottom.

Happy Investing.

(Advice: This article is for information purpose only. Readers are advised to consult a certified financial advisor before making investment in any of the funds or securities mentioned above.)

(Karan Deo Sharma is a Mumbai-based finance and equity markets specialist).

Also Read: How to invest in gold for maximum returns

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