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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.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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in the UK and many other countries, gold coins formed the basis of the domestic MONEY SUPPLY, but gold has now been replaced by banknotes and brass and nickel coins as the cash component of the money supply.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.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson


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.

Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Both boards and case are covered in reflective gold foil, and the whole resembles a box of chocolates.
More than 100 million of these Swiss milk chocolate bunnies with their familiar gold foil wrapping and bell charm are sold worldwide every year, and you're never too old to untie the red ribbon, break open the hollow bunny and enjoy the sweet experience.
such as ink-jet and sublimation inks, printing glues, printing additives, textile printing, glitter, auxiliaies, resin, paste, paste adhesives, silicone,hot melt adhesives, gold foil paper,transfer paper and transfer paper will also be part of the exhibition.
Sainsbury's Fairtrade Spotty Egg, 100g, pounds 3 Choceur Milk Chocolate Flame Egg, Aldi, 350g, pounds 2.99 Described as a luxury egg, it looked the part wrapped in gold foil but we were rather disappointed, particularly since Aldi stocks some great chocolate.
Ben Barnes who plays King Caspian in the latest film, described his first role as a 'rock star alien' adding that he made his guitar himself our of cardboard and gold foil.
Each hazelnut praline-filled chocolate is wrapped in gold foil. They are available in a 4-piece, 1.76-ounce box ($2.99), a giftable 8.8-ounce 22-piece box ($12.99), and an elegant 7.6-ounce heart-shaped gift box ($11.99).
Even the veggie spears were decked out gold, dusted with a delicate sprinkle of gold foil.
The transactions are case bound in maroon leatherette with the title, year and volume number stamped in gold foil on the spine.
Each set consists of three bottles of wine in an elegant lacquered wood box, with gold foil and branded lettering signed and numbered by the winemaker, Bart O"Brien.
The image on the bottle and 4-pack depicts an old nautical map, compass rose and fictitious "Lost Continent" and the bottle's label is adorned with metallic gold trim and a top wrap of gold foil.
The shiny gold foil paper still conveys the status and quality perception of President Pointe de Brie, which makes it so appealing to the market.