Giustamente il Wall Street Journal si domanda: come mai se il nostro destino è la deflazione l'oro continua a salire? Anche ieri, mentre i mercati azionari di tutto il mondo incassavano sberle considerevoli, l'oro riusciva a guadagnare un pochino. Secondo il WSJ la risposta è molto semplice: la correlazione tra inflazione e oro è molto bassa. L'oro quindi non è una commodity, che serve per proteggersi dal rischio inflazione, ma è una valuta, un'alternativa al dollaro alla quale ricorrere nei momenti in cui si ha paura che il governo U.S.A. non possa mantenere le promesse fatte. Scrive Jason Zweig nella sua colonna settimanale che
I recently asked research firm Ibbotson Associates to run a correlation study to determine how closely inflation and gold-price movements track each other. You would expect gold, as a purported commodity, and inflation to move in tandem.
The data, going back to 1978 and capturing an inflationary spike, shows a correlation of, at most, 0.08.
That is low. Really low. Perfect correlation is 1; at minus-1, two assets move in perfect opposition. Near 0 implies gold and inflation barely acknowledge one another, and moves in unison are largely happenstance.
So if inflation doesn't push and pull at gold prices, what might it be? If you believe correlation studies, the answer is the U.S. dollar.
Going back to 1973—a period that defines the modern, non-gold-backed dollar—the greenback's movements closely track gold's direction. The correlation between month-end gold prices and the Major Currencies Dollar Index, as reported by the Federal Reserve, is minus-0.45.
That clearly is a stronger correlation than you find with inflation. But let's take this a bit further. Let's shorten the time frame to the period from gold's 1980 peak to today.
The result: Over the past 30 years, the correlation between the dollar and gold is minus-0.65—a high negative correlation. It means the dollar and gold are effectively on opposite ends of a seesaw. When the dollar is in favor, gold retreats. When it is under pressure, gold prices swell.
Look at the nearby chart. It is like a photo of a mountain scene reflected in a tranquil lake. The rises and falls and horizontal meanderings of gold are nearly the negative of the dollar's.
The implication is that gold isn't a commodity—at least not one that hews to the definition of something that people and industry consume.
Instead, "gold is a currency" whose daily price is a gauge of the market's concern about the "potential diminishment" of the purchasing power of the dollar and other paper currencies, says Paul Brodsky, a principal at New York's QB Asset Management.
If he is correct, it is the potential longer-term weakening of the dollar that is the real issue for the gold market, not inflation or deflation.(...)
If, however, you worry the U.S. balance sheet is irreparably damaged, then gold currently reflects the likelihood that a weak-dollar trend still has years to run as the U.S. struggles with its financial mess. Investors—and consumers—looking to preserve their purchasing power will gravitate toward gold, since its quantity isn't easily manipulated.
Invest in gold, then, according your beliefs about the future of the greenback. Just don't invest based on the idea that gold is a proxy for inflation. You are likely to be played for a fool.