What China’s central bank and Costco shoppers have in common (The Economist – April 11, 2024)


Hint: it is not a fondness for cryptocurrencies

Gold has always held an allure. The earliest civilisations used it for jewellery; the first forms of money were forged from it. For centuries kings clamoured to get their hands on the stuff. Charlemagne conquered much of Europe after plundering vast amounts of gold from the Avars.

When King Ferdinand of Spain sent explorers to the new world in 1511, he told them to “get gold, humanely if you can, but all hazards, get gold.” Ordinary men also clamoured for it after James Marshall, a labourer, found a flake of gold while constructing a saw mill in Sacramento, California, in 1848.

People are once again spending big on the precious metal. On April 9th its spot price hit a record of $2,364 an ounce, having risen by 15% since the start of March. That gold is surging makes a certain degree of sense: the metal is seen to be a hedge against calamity and economic hardship.

It tends to rally when countries are at war, economies are uncertain and inflation is rampant. But only a certain degree. After all, why is it surging precisely now? Inflation was worse a year ago.

For the rest of this article: https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2024/04/11/what-chinas-central-bank-and-costco-shoppers-have-in-common?utm_campaign=r.the-economist-today&utm_medium=email.internal-newsletter.np&utm_source=salesforce-marketing-cloud&utm_term=20240411&utm_content=ed-picks-image-link-6&etear=nl_today_6&utm_campaign=r.the-economist-today&utm_medium=email.internal-newsletter.np&utm_source=salesforce-marketing-cloud&utm_term=4/11/2024&utm_id=1873796