George Soros Sells His Gold
Source: Telegraph, Richard Evans (5/19/11)
"Not everyone shares his view; Paulson left his SPDR holding unchanged."
George Soros, the hedge fund investor who called gold "the ultimate bubble," has sold almost his entire holding of the precious metal, leading to fears that the price is about to fall.
The investor, famous for his £10bn bet against the Bank of England in 1992, made his "ultimate bubble" remark in January last year but acted to cut his holding only in the first quarter of this year.
Holding on has proved hugely profitable – in January 2010 gold was trading at about $1,100 an ounce, whereas the lowest price during the first three months of 2011 was more than $1,300. The highest was about $1,450.
It is not known exactly when Mr Soros sold his gold, which was held via the Soros Fund Management investment vehicle. Filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the American regulator, showed that he had sold 99pc of his holding in SPDR Gold Trust, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) backed by gold bullion, by the end of March.
The New York-based fund sold its entire holding in iShares Gold Trust, a similar investment. But Mr Soros bought shares in two mining companies, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold and Goldcorp.
This may have been a smart move. "As the precious metals rally ends, you'll get transition toward related equities," James Dailey of Pennsylvania-based Team Financial Asset Management, told Bloomberg. "You don't see any speculative appetite for gold stocks yet."
The gold price fell slightly following the announcement that Soros had sold his holdings.
Not all investors share his view. Paulson & Co., the U.S. hedge fund run by John Paulson, left its holding in the SPDR Gold Trust unchanged, filings to the SEC showed. And Hal Lehr, a commodity trader at Deutsche Bank, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: "I'm bullish on gold despite its current levels. It could reach $2,000 an ounce in the next eight months."