Warren Buffett's Good News for Gold
Source: Mineweb, Alec Hogg (5/4/09)
"You can bet on inflation."
The two key messages he delivered to 35,000 shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway's AGM in Omaha over the weekend were inflation is coming back; and the U.S. Dollar is headed lower. Both predictions, if fulfilled, are powerfully positive for gold.
Buffett, who has delivered compounded returns exceeding 20% a year to shareholders for more than four decades, did not mention gold by name. But that will matter little to the yellow metal's continuously growing group of supporters. They are sure to interpret this as further evidence that gold's best days lie ahead.
After dabbling in precious metals in the 1960s, Buffett ignored them until a well publicized (but poor) trade in silver between mid-1997 and early 1998. The decision to accumulate 130m ounces was based on factors specific to silver's supply and demand at the time.
Once he'd closed out the position, Buffett jokingly described it as "the perfect trade - except that we bought too early and sold too late." Since then he has publicly and consistently shunned precious metals, mainly because he prefers assets that generate dividends.
Buffet is convinced of one definite consequence: "You can bet on inflation." History suggests that higher inflation is an important trigger for a rise in the gold price.
During Saturday's six-hour question and answer marathon, Buffett (78) and Berkshire Hathaway's vice chairman Charlie Munger (85) once again belied their advanced years through sharp wit and focused minds. They also referred often to their view that the U.S. Dollar is headed south - another bullish factor for gold.