How to Buy Gold in Today's Troubled World
Gold turned in a fairly tarnished performance during the second quarter, falling $80 an ounce, or 4.76%, during the April-June period.
Even still, most precious metals analysts see strong potential for gold prices in the second half of 2012 given the continued sluggishness in the global economy and increasing uncertainty about the Eurozone debt crisis.
Some are suggesting that gold prices could top their previous 2012 high of $1,795.10 an ounce set back in February.
Given that, the big question for investors is how to buy gold in a renewed bull market for the shiny metal.
The answer largely depends on your expectations.
If you expect renewed economic disruptions in Europe and elsewhere, growing tensions in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and the rest of the Middle East, and increasing political discord in the U.S. before and after the election, you'll likely want to take the traditional approach - holding the physical metal itself.
Purists feel this is the only true hedge against global turmoil and declining values in the dollar and other fiat currencies.
How to Buy Physical Gold
For smaller investors, this typically means buying gold bullion bars, rounds (unadorned coin-shaped pieces) or minted gold bullion coins.
Bullion bars - produced primarily by private mints like Engelhard, Johnson Matthey PLC (LON: JMAT) and Credit Suisse Group AC (NYSE ADR: CS) - come in an assortment of sizes to suit the needs and means of every investor.
The smallest bars weigh just one gram, priced this week at about $52.75, while the largest is 400 ounces and was going this week for around $645,000.
Gold rounds are produced by the same private refiners, as well as some government mints, and are also available in a variety of sizes, typically ranging from one-tenth of an ounce to five ounces. Prices range from as little as $15 per round over the spot price of gold at the time of the order for smaller pieces to $40 over the spot for larger specialty pieces.
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