In a new year of economic uncertainty, gold is a bright prospect again – by Phillip Inman (The Guardian – December 28, 2018)

The recent gyrations in the FTSE 100 and the tumbling price of oil may have captured public attention, but in the last four months the FTSE All-Share index has lost 12% of its value and the gold price has jumped 10%. If any two figures really show how nervous traders have become about the new year, it is these.

The safe haven that gold offers has pushed its price to a 15-month high of £1,010. The riskier FTSE All-Share, which covers all London-listed companies, has tumbled almost 600 points to 3596.

Adrian Ash, director of research at the online gold market Bullion Vault, said: “If gold acts as a barometer of financial fears then it’s flashing red for 2019. From Brexit to China’s hard economic slowdown, investors face a range of risks and shocks in the year ahead.”

The possibility of a long government shutdown in Washington can be added to a growing list of potential threats to the global financial system, including the overhang of property debts in China, growing frustration in the west with Moscow’s foreign policy, and Italy’s fragile banks.

Some of the fear arises from the uncertainty created by developments that will come to a head in 2019, among them the British government’s failure to secure a parliamentary majority for its deal to leave the European Union.

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