Sunday, June 14, 2009
Gold and money
History of gold
From the first discoveries of gold in ancient times, its beauty and the ease with which it could be worked have inspired craftsmen to use it to create ornaments, not just for adornment, but as potent symbols of wealth and power. The first pure gold coins were struck by King Croesus of Lydia (present-day Turkey) during his reign between 560 and 547 BC and gold coins have continued as legal tender since that time.
It is known that the Egyptians mined gold before 2000 BC and the first coin containing gold was struck in the eighth century BC.
The best estimates available suggest that the total volume of gold mined over history is approximately 158,000 tonnes, of which around 65% has been mined since 1950. Production has been on a downward trend since 2001, due principally to the reduction in exploration budgets that accompanied the low gold price of the late 1990s and the consequent fall in the number of major new gold discoveries. Independent analysts believe mine output will remain relatively flat for the next few years. For a history of gold mining >>
Gold as a reserve asset
Central banks have been major holders of gold for more than 100 years and are expected to retain large stocks in future. They currently account for about 20% of above-ground stocks. The process of rebalancing reserve portfolios to adjust to changing conditions since the demise of the gold standard has led to a reduction in the amount of gold held by some central banks in the past ten years. This process may continue for some years to come. But the central banks have affirmed that gold will remain an important reserve asset for the foreseeable future and, importantly, since 1999 have accepted that sales be governed by international agreement.
Posted by Sax-Gold Ent at 15:17