PHUKET: As my latest trip to the UK continues, I was thinking “What can I get my dearest for Christmas this year?”

I’m not the biggest fan of shopping trips and love nothing more than having a fixed plan in place to minimize the whole experience.

Being Christmas, though, I thought I should give this a little more time and thought and really push the boat out.

Walking down the high street, it’s clear to see that the economy in the UK this year has hit hard times. Everywhere I look, I can see the endless “sale” signs in shop windows and there seems to be a lot fewer people pounding the streets looking for bargains than I can remember in past years.

Wearing my festive Santa’s hat, I thought I would treat my other half to a ring, necklace or bracelet this year. I walked into the first jewellers I came across to have a look at some of the items on offer. There were no signs in this shop window offering bargain sale prices and I nearly fell over when I asked the shop attendant to show me some of the gold rings he had displayed. If there has been one commodity that has not taken a big hit in recent times it’s gold.

In tough economic and financial times, gold has been seen as a safe haven for investors to acquire and wait until things look a little more prosperous.

This high demand has pushed the price of gold up to record levels recently and many believe that this will continue for the foreseeable future. In 1999, Gordon Brown sold off 400 tons of the UK Gold reserves at approximately US$256 and US$296 per ounce, for 2.3 billion pounds sterling. When gold reached US$1,500 per ounce, that same figure would have been worth 12.95bn pounds sterling, and how the UK could benefit from that amount now cannot be understated.

As with everything, hindsight is a wonderful thing and the continuing increase in the price of gold is nothing short of incredible.

With the continued worldwide economic woes, many experts foresee gold reaching US$2,000 per ounce, and all the signs point to this increase as there is certainly no quick fix to the economic problems many countries are currently facing.

Gold seems to have stabilized at around the US$1,600 to 1,700 per ounce level after a temporary drop, but as markets continue to be uncertain this could still provide an attractive investment opportunity over the next 12 months.

As many of the worldwide major currencies weaken, will there be many more places for investors to turn?

As always, a commodity such as Gold can be quite volatile so this is not something for the faint-hearted and should be held as part of a larger portfolio. This, however, means that the perfect Christmas gift is now a lot more expensive than it would have been several years ago.

Meanwhile, I’m sure it will all be worth it to see my beloved on Christmas day with a shining gold necklace waiting to be put around her neck. She’ll be delighted even if my bank account isn’t!

For more information, contact [email protected]

— Anthony Lyman

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017.