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Gold

A particularly valuable precious metal. Gold is an element with the atomic number 79. It is used for jewelry, electronics and for other purposes. Historically, gold was used in many cultures as the basis for currency, but this is no longer the case. Investments in gold are often used as a hedge against inflation because it tends to maintain its value over time.

gold

a mineral that is used both as an industrial base metal and for ornamental purposes, and is held by governments as part of their stock of INTERNATIONAL RESERVE assets in order to finance balance of payments deficits. Formerly, in the UK and many other countries, gold coins formed the basis of the domestic MONEY SUPPLY, but gold has now been replaced by banknotes and brass and nickel coins as the cash component of the money supply. See BULLION MARKET, WORLD GOLD COUNCIL.

gold

a monetary ASSET that is held by countries as part of their INTERNATIONAL RESERVES and used to finance BALANCE OF PAYMENTS deficits.

Formerly, many countries operated a GOLD STANDARD system under which gold was used as the basis of a country's domestic MONEY SUPPLY as well as being used to finance payments deficits. Gradually, however, the ‘pure’ gold standard gave way to domestic monetary systems based on paper money and other metallic coins and, internationally, the gold-exchange standard in which foreign currencies such as sterling and the American dollar were used alongside gold as reserve assets.

In 1935 the price of gold was ‘fixed’ at $35 per fine ounce by the USA, Britain and France as part of a monetary pact between the three countries. This price was then ‘officially’ adopted by member countries of the INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND on its formation in 1947; gold was used as the NUMERAIRE of the Fund's fixed exchange-rate system in setting par values for members’ currencies, and members were required to pay one quarter of their ‘quota subscriptions to the Fund in gold. Gold continued to serve as the linchpin of the IMF system, and its ‘official’ price remained pegged at $35 per ounce, down to 1971, when the Fund's fixed exchange-rate system gave way to floating exchange rates. Countries had, however, found it increasingly difficult to hold the price of gold at the $35 per ounce level as world demand for gold as an industrial metal and for ornamental purposes continued to expand. In 1961 a ‘gold pool’ was set up to regulate dealings in the metal, but in 1968 Fund members bowed to the inevitable and a ‘two-tier’ price structure was established; gold continued to be priced at $35 per ounce for ‘official’ transactions between countries’ central banks and the Fund, while the ‘free’ market price of gold was left to be determined by market forces.

In 1972, gold was dropped as the numeraire of the Fund and replaced by the SPECIAL DRAWING RIGHT unit, the Fund's existing gold holdings were sold off, and members were required to subscribe their quotas in a non-gold form. Outside the Fund, many countries have sold off part of their gold reserves, with the UK being particularly active in 1999, having taken the decision to reduce its gold holdings to around 8% of its total reserves. Overall, gold accounts for only some 0.3% of total international reserves. The market price of gold has fallen substantially over the past decade. In 1989 the price of gold averaged around $850 per ounce. Following UK gold sales in 1999, the price of gold at one point fell as low as $250 per ounce. However, despite the determination of the USA and a number of other major gold holders to put a moratorium on gold sales, the price of gold has remained depressed - currently (April 2005), it is around $430 per ounce.

The attractiveness of gold as a reserve asset is underpinned by the fact that, unlike national paper currencies (which are intrinsically worthless), it has a value in exchange as a commodity related to its use as an industrial base metal and for ornamental purposes. Gold holdings, however, suffer from the disadvantage that, compared with other assets such as STOCKS and SHARES, they yield no interest return.

References in periodicals archive ?
Past exploratory drilling revealed these sites had gold buried underground, but the areas were undisturbed by further mining activity that might have contaminated the trees with gold dust.
"They are the guys who are gold dust, the guys you want in your team and in your club.
Amos, a classically trained musician, talked about Gold Dust and how she has forged new paths for American singer-songwriters.
With so many people in the country, some have found surprising ways to eke out a living, and this new documentary series reveals how some of the residents of Kolkata and Mumbai, two of India's most densely populated districts, make ends meet.There's Kaale, who earns money by sweeping the streets of Kolkata's jewellery district for stray gold dust - and who has devised a risky plan to expand his business.
swept silica yields to tines dry patterns forge serenity the small stones set in fallow furrows best sides up in mute accord to feed no one outside the gates another master's orchard noisy with bees in gold dust chaps & yet the hunger always returns even with the fullest of bellies & always when the zen master has left the garden taking with him all the apples he can balance on the ledge of a rib
Dubai An assistant technician lost his appeal and will have to spend six months in jail for stealing 30 kilograms of gold dust worth Dh4 million from a jewellery store.
She tells Insider: "I know Alma de Cuba really well, after living in the city for five years as a student, and it is the perfect setting for the Gold Dust video because it is striking and intimate at the same time.
Male types include 'Golden King' and 'Crotonifolia' while female varieties include 'Gold Dust'.
It was while doing exactly that this week that I noticed thousands of tiny particles of gold dust glinting in the sunlight in my living room.
"Gold Dust" follows Sarah Delany, disgusted with her marriage and going the only way she can--westward.
of a nightmare, her hands drenched in gold dust, her panic like the thin
Zac has always heard his grandfather speak of gold dust and maps and a prince sold into slavery many years before in Ghana, and dismissed it as just an old man's obsession, but the murder puts the family story in a new perspective because there are people who obviously will kill for this information.