A golden age

Gold prices have been soaring in recent months. In fact, such is the demand for the precious metal that Harrods has just started selling gold bars. “The Knightsbridge department store yesterday began selling bars of pure Swiss gold bullion as part of a range that is being displayed in a miniature vault on the lower ground floor” (see eighth link below).

In November 2008, gold was trading at around $750 per ounce; by October 2009, the price had reached $1080 per ounce. Why has this happened? Will the trend continue? What does it signify about the world economy – both its current and likely future state? The following articles look at the causes and effects of this new ‘golden age’.

Gold prices continue to hit new highs Guardian (7/10/09)
Gold price hits fresh high Guardian (14/10/09)
Gold’s bull run set to roar ahead This is Money (17/10/09)
Why the price of gold is rising BBC News (13/10/09)
Gold price ‘set to double in four years’ (includes video) Telegraph (10/10/09)
Gold at $1,500? Don’t hold your breath Telegraph (10/10/09)
Bullion bulls The Economist (8/10/09)
Harrods put Swiss gold bars up for sale in a miniature vault Times Online (16/10/09)
Gold Eases from New High as “Less Bad” Data Drives Up Equities, Oil & Wall Street Bonuses BullionVault (14/10/09)
Gold Just Broke Its Neck, Targets $5,250? The market Oracle (14/10/09)


  1. Use a demand and supply diagram to illustrate the change in the price of gold between November 2008 and October 2009. Does the explanation lie largely of the demand or the supply side? Use the concepts of price elasticity of demand and supply to explain the size of the price change for any given shift in demand or supply.
  2. How is the price of gold related to the strength of the US dollar?
  3. Explain whether gold is a commodity or a currency (or both).
  4. What is meant by the ‘head and shoulders pattern’ in the price of gold? Is the use of ‘patterns’ a good way of predicting future prices? Give reasons why it may or may not be.