Possibility of Big Central Bank Gold Sales to Try and Stabilize the Dollar

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...if bankers sell gold to try and reverse the dollar slide, will it make any serious difference to the gold price, or the dollar, anyway? Short term negative gold price impacts may result, but overall the fundamentals behind the dollar weakness cannot be undone by such an artificial procedure. Indeed if such sales are made openly, and the gold price is not significantly affected, which has to be a possibility, then the dollar may be seen as being even weaker still.

Following various pronouncements in Washington and elsewhere there seems little doubt that moves are being discussed to try and halt the greenback's seemingly ever-spiralling downturn now that the Fed is beginning to concern itself with inflation. This may just mean US interventions in the markets to buy dollars, but could also be the prelude to some concerted sales of gold into the market as higher gold prices are themselves seen as an indication of dollar devaluation (which indeed they are) and so the feeling among some Central Bankers is that a gold sell-off will in turn help stabilise the dollar.

This may well occur. Be warned. There are enough gold disbelievers in the sector to make it happen. But one suspects it will be of little use in the medium to long term. The U.S.'s economic malaise cannot be halted by selling the best indicator out there of dollar weakness. The weakness goes far deeper structurally into the American dream which up until the second half of last year had been boosted by virtually unlimited credit, a significant proportion of which was being taken up by those who could least afford to repay it in a downturn. Unfortunately the American dream has de facto become a global dream as the world's economic powerhouse has aggressively exported its ideas of capitalism (behind the smokescreen of democracy) all around the world - sometimes by force where it has seen its economic interests and security threatened...

Perhaps this is a little unfair and is only painting a picture of the extremes in the sector. There are still plenty of traditional conservative bankers around who are probably just as horrified at some of those they have to rub shoulders with and whose warnings have gone unheeded. They are taking command now and some of their cautions in dealings with fellow banks are perhaps at the root of the credit crunch which means that almost all risk elements have to be removed before loans - corporate and personal - are approved...

But we digress. Will the bankers sell gold to try and reverse the dollar slide? And if they do will it make any serious difference to the gold price, or the dollar, anyway? Short term negative gold price impacts may result, but overall the fundamentals behind the dollar weakness cannot be undone by such an artificial procedure. Indeed if such sales are made openly, and the gold price is not significantly affected, which has to be a possibility, then the dollar may be seen as being even weaker still.

What is likely to be the dollar saviour in terms of currencies like the Euro and perhaps the Yen, is that the US has very successfully exported many of the problems it is currently facing to the Euro zone and elsewhere and only now is the true impact of the financial crisis in these areas beginning to sink in. We are seeing housing price collapses in some European countries - the trigger behind the US downturn - and as the US economy begins to stabilise, which it probably will, the downturn is beginning to get under way elsewhere and other economies will weaken. That may be what truly halts the dollar slide...

So, should Central Banks sell gold to try and help stabilise the dollar, apart from some short term dips around the gold sales themselves, it is likely the markets will absorb whatever is thrown at them. This would be either through a decline in production and continuing increasing investment demand, not to mention some likely purchases by some central banks which a) believe in gold and b) feel they need to hold more of their foreign exchange reserves in some currency other than the US dollar - and in this respect gold definitely counts as a currency. While there may be a negative impact in that gold might not move upwards as fast as some would predict, longer term fundamentals look good for gold and with economic instability likely to continue for some time one has to remain positive on the price.

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