Gold prices have been on a tear lately, topping a fresh record high above $1,900 an ounce early Tuesday — just two weeks after rising above $1,800. Gold prices first crossed the $1,900 mark in after-hours electronic trading Monday.
Early Tuesday, prices hit an all-time high of $1,917.90 an ounce, before pulling back to about $1,880. With investors plowing into gold in droves, the SPDR Gold Trust ETF, one of the most popular funds for investors seeking exposure to gold, is now the world’s largest ETF with nearly $77 billion in net assets. Since 1993, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust held the top spot. It boasts about $75 billion in assets, accord to State Street Global Advisors.
While the “parabolic surge” in the price of gold over the last couple of months is concerning, Lloyd Thomas, professor of economics at Kansas State University, says the rise is also worrisome over a longer period of time.
“Gold is considered a good hedge against inflation,” he said, “But the increase in gold price has far outpaced inflation, especially during the last decade.”
He noted that inflation has only picked up 2.4% on an annual basis during the last 10 years, but the price of the yellow metal has climbed more than 21% a year during the same time period.
New Home Price Fall in July
New home sales fell once again in July, the third straight month of declining sales for hard-pressed home builders.
New homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 298,000, a modest 0.7% drop from a downwardly-revised rate of 300,000 homes sold in June. That’s also below the rate of 310,000 that a panel of housing market analysts at Briefing.com had forecast. Sales rose 6.8% year-over-year from 279,000 in July 2010.
The median price for a new home sold in July was $222,000, down about 5.5% from June but up 8.8% from 12 months earlier.
The inventory of new homes for sale stood at 165,000 during the month. It would take 6.6 months to sell off those homes at the current sales rate.