Gold is now “the ultimate bubble”, billionaire investor George Soros has declared, sparking fears that prices for the precious metal may soon suffer a tumble.
By Edmund Conway in Davos
Published: 6:15AM GMT 28 Jan 2010
Mr Soros, arguably the most famous hedge fund manager in history, warned that with interest rates low around the world, policymakers were risking generating new bubbles which could cause crashes in the future. In comments delivered on the fringe of the World Economic Forum, Mr Soros said: “When interest rates are low we have conditions for asset bubbles to develop, and they are developing at the moment. The ultimate asset bubble is gold.”
Gold prices last month reached a record level of just over $1,225 per ounce, having risen around 40pc last year. Investors are piling into the metal amid fears both of potential inflation and fading faith about the stability of previously-assumed safe assets such as government debt. However, the chairman of Barrick Gold, the world’s biggest producer, Peter Munk, said he expected the metal’s upward march to continue.
Mr Soros added that by proposing imminent “exit strategies” from the unprecedented support handed out to troubled banks and consumers, governments around the world could be in danger of triggering a double-dip in the global economy. In comments which will reinforce Labour’s plan to fight the next election on promises not to start raising taxes or cutting spending too soon, he said that it was still too early to slash budget deficits.
He said: “I think that since the adjustment process to the recession is incomplete, there is a need for additional stimulus. Some countries, like the US and European countries, have plenty of room to increase their deficits. The political resistance to doing so increases the chances of a double dip in the economy in 2011 and after that.”
The Conservatives have pledged to start cutting public spending almost immediately after this year’s election, but their promise was weakened earlier this week by an International Monetary Fund report warning that it may still be too early to begin this process. Mr Soros also came out in favour of Barack Obama’s plan to split up large US banks, but said that proposals to tax the banking system could also endanger the recovery.