A 50-year graph of the spot gold price paints a sobering picture. After it peaked at US$589/oz in 1980, it declined gradually for the next 21 years. It took another four years to get back to its 1980 level and another six years of gradual acceleration to peak at $1,921/oz in 2011. If cycles are any guide, gold’s next peak will be in 25 years’ time, barring a major crisis. But there are no indications that the kind of shocks that caused gold’s last two peaks will occur in 2018. In 1980 investors were responding to the oil squeeze and in 2011 they took refuge from concerns about European debt defaults. A potential problem on the horizon could be a collapse in cryptocurrencies. But while both gold and bitcoin are seen as a store of value, various analyses over different time periods have found no reliable positive or negative correlation between the two, or, in fact, between bitcoin and any other traditional asset. Cryptocurrencies are still too peripheral to present a threat to global...

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