The gold price kicked off this year with a fall.
It dropped from $1422 / oz, down to a low of $1318 / oz by late January.

This was a fall of just 7.3%, but still this gave all the gold bears something to rant about for a few weeks: ‘It’s the end of the gold bull market’, ‘I told you it was in a bubble’, and so on.

We’ve heard it all before, and we can be sure to hear it all again.
But the fall they were all getting so excited about was really just another tiny dip on the way up.

Take a look at the top right hand side of the two-year gold chart below.

That little pull-back was what all the fuss was about…..

Gold price continues its steady march upwards

More to the point, you can see that the gold price has already bounced since then! It is on its way up already, climbing 4% in the last few weeks. It didn’t take long.

Media reports also focused on the amount of gold being withdrawn from the gold ETF (GOLD). This is the world’s largest gold exchange traded fund (ETF), and apparently holds around 40 million ounces of gold for investors.

But when these investors cashed in on a few million ounces of gold last month, the media were citing it as evidence of the coming end of the gold market’s epic run.

But again, take a step back. This few million ounces was but a fraction of the amount of gold on their books. And moreover, this drop is no worse than ones we have seen in the last few years.

Recent withdrawals from the GOLD ETF barely even register in the big picture

Source: Credit Suisse
Most reporters would have you believe that the GOLD ETF is the only part of the gold market that you need to look at.

But it is just a small part of the puzzle.

CHINA is soon to be the world’s largest gold market.

With four gold recommendations in Diggers and Drillers (which are up 85% on average), it is what’s  been happening in China’s gold market that makes me sleep well at night.

This has always been the main reason I am bullish on gold: the potential demand from the hundreds of millions of newly wealthy, Chinese middle classes.

Not to mention the fact that the Chinese government are doing all they can to promote gold ownership. With a long cultural history of personal gold ownership, this is not a hard sell.

Gold demand in China has now gone ballistic.

It imported 6.7 million ounces in just the first ten months of last year! Compare that to 1.4 million ounces in the full twelve months of 2009.

It’s not just gold either.

Last year China imported 120 million ounces of silver. The year before that it was just 30 million ounces of silver. A 300% increase!
It’s good to know this as another two of the Diggers and Drillers tips are silver plays.  These are up 42% on average, with the most recent one just getting going now.  (You can get my latest research, and take a test drive of my service by clicking here )
Last week I managed to get my hands on some current data for Shanghai gold trading volumes. This is a market that has pretty much started from scratch just a few years ago, but is already now going at full tilt.

It’s hungrily vacuuming up any gold that US investors are silly enough to liberate.

Shanghai Gold Exchange volumes climbing last six years

Source: ANZ commodity research
There are many days where 30million ounces have changed hands, and the 12 month rolling average is now closing in on 20 million ounces daily. This is one busy market.

So with this kind of growing demand from China, it really is hard to see the gold price falling very far, for very long, in the foreseeable future!

The fact is that for all the media coverage of gold, only a fraction of global investment assets are tied up in gold and gold stocks. It’s just a fraction-of-a-fraction of the investible universe.

The thin bar on the bottom right of the chart below is what we are talking about.

Gold is still a small fish in a big pond, for now anyway…

Source: Barrick
Maybe this is the real reason why so few commentators understand the gold market. Because so few are genuinely involved with it!

There are many willing to venture an opinion, but few who really know the gold market. Check out Sprott Asset Management’s commentary to hear it from some of the best.

The good news is that until gold becomes main-stream, there is still a huge opportunity there. When the media start saying gold is good, that’s when I’ll be thinking about selling out!

For the foreseeable future though, in the words of another one of the world’s best gold commentators Marc Faber: ‘The risk is really not to own any precious metals at all’.


Dr.Alex Cowie
for Money Morning Australia

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