Why Gold is Becoming Scarcer

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For quite a while, we have been talking about scarcity in gold. The cobasis for both October and December is positive. These contracts are backwardated. The cobasis for the February 2016 contract is not far from backwardation. The gold market is tight. Why? Let’s explore.

Part of the matter is that the price has fallen. The more the price drops, the more buyers tend to come out, and sellers go away.

We do not refer necessarily to the mines. Once the capital is sunk, a mining company is a price-taker. Management has little choice but to extract what it can, and hope the quantity produced times the profit available at a given gold price is enough to pay the fixed expenses such as debt service (well, if they don’t have a proper hedging program, which I wrote about here and here). Gold is often produced as a byproduct when mining for other metals, and this production depends on the profitability of the main metal in the ore.

For thousands of years, the market has absorbed all the output from every mine. If the quantity theory of money were true, gold would be a worthless commodity. Unlike everything else (except silver), the stocks of gold held by the people are a large multiple of annual production. There is no such thing as a glut in gold.
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