Gold prices in 2013 haven't performed as well as the previous few years - but Washington continues to give us plenty of reasons to buy the yellow metal.
This week showed us how sensitive the price of gold can be to news from Washington.
On the heels on the down-to-the-wire U.S. government budget and debt ceiling deal, gold prices moved abruptly higher and soared above the key $1,300 level.
Here's why the next round of budget battles will be good for gold...
Keith Fitz-Gerald: "I am Buying Gold and I Intend to Buy More if It Goes Down"
Apple plunged below $400 per share, while gold prices remained well under $1,400 an ounce.
What's going on in the markets?
Stuart Varney of Fox Business' "Varney & Co." put that question to Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald Thursday.
Of Apple, Keith said, "I wouldn't touch it," then ticked off a number of reasons.
But Keith had a decidedly different take on gold, saying, "I am buying gold and I intend to buy more if it goes down, and I hope I'm smart enough to do it for a long time to come."
Asked what else he's investing in, Keith said he's "cautiously buying" energy, defense technology and medical technology stocks.
To hear more from Keith on these topics as well as his view of the massive money-printing in Japan, watch the video below.
Why Gold Really Crashed and What You Can Do About It
The news is great at telling us what's happening. But knowing what's happening is a lot different than understanding what happened - and that's what makes the difference between an average investor and truly great investors.
Gold's crash Monday is a perfect example. The media was falling all over itself as one pundit after the other came on TV to talk about how gold was falling and how far off its highs it was. Few tied the devastating slide to real economic events -- let alone made the connection to actual trading.
But that's my bread and butter. Today I'm going to tell you what really happened and why - from a market insider's perspective. Then I'm going to tell you what to expect next and, most importantly, how you can use the situation to your advantage.
There are three fundamental things going on - all of which are at a very high level and all of which are completely transparent to most investors:
Could Gold and Silver Coins Become Legal Tender in Your State?
Confidence in the U.S. dollar is so low that 13 states are poised to recognize gold and silver coins as legal tender.
Arizona is the latest state set to make the move.
Monday, the Republican sponsored Arizona measure sailed through the House of Representatives 36-2. The bill moves on for another vote in the Senate, where it got its first nod Feb. 28 in a 17-11 vote.
Should it land on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk, it's good as gold.
Jim Rogers: Hold on to Your Gold and Silver Coins
Legendary investor Jim Rogers sees now as a great time to load up on gold and silver coins - and he's not alone.
A record 7.5 million ounces of silver coins were sold in January as investors hunted for a safe haven investment.
"You can't get [silver coins]. They sell out," Rogers, who owns a rare 2013 silver coin, said on Yahoo! Finance's "The Daily Ticker." "Several mints have run out of coins because everybody's worried about the future of the world."
And 150,000 ounces of American Eagle gold coins were sold in January, the highest monthly total since July 2010.
"Gold has been up 12 years in a row which is extremely unusual for anything," added Rogers. "A lot of speculators are rushing into gold right now. I'm not rushing into gold, but I'm certainly not selling it. If it goes down, I'm buying more."
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 GoldFor 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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While Banks Crumble, The Next Leg Up For Gold Prices Draws Near
Something's afoot in the world of high stakes finance.
The Basel Committee for Bank Supervision (BCBS) is about to decide something crucial to bankers, sovereign nations, and gold investors alike.
As part of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the BCBS is reviewing the upcoming new Basel III rules. That may sound arcane to you but I promise it's not.
Though rarely discussed in the mainstream press, the all-important Bank of International Settlements is essentially a global central bank to the world's central banks.
Its goal is ostensibly to provide global stability to the monetary and financial systems.
And in a surprise twist that only a few years ago would have been considered preposterous, the BCBS is entertaining whether gold should qualify as a full-fledged Tier 1 capital asset.
Currently, the precious metal is relinquished to a Tier 3 status, deserving no more than a 50% weighting at that.
Here's why that distinction is important and potentially astonishing.
Achieving Tier 1 status would credit gold with the recognition it's been denied ever since Nixon closed the gold window on August 15, 1971.
In essence, it would mark the official recognition that gold is real money.
But that's not the only reason gold is gaining respect. Other factors are brewing that will set the stage for the next leg up in gold prices.
As Banks Teeter, Gold Gains RespectOne of them is the crumbling state of world's banks. Once unwavering, the trust in these financial ivory towers is precarious at best.
In the last couple of months alone, Greek depositors have withdrawn billions of euros in deposits, as the fear of a "Grexit" looms large.
Not to be outdone, Spain banks have been emasculated by the Iberian nation's own bursting real estate bubble. After denying for weeks that a bailout would be required, officials finally caved to a "Spailout", giving Spain's banking system a 100 billion euro rescue package.
This phenomenon is not exclusive to the Eurozone either.
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