Why invest in gold?

Gold is a unique asset: highly liquid, yet scarce; it’s a luxury good as much as an investment. Gold is no one’s liability and carries no counterparty risk. As such, it can play a fundamental role in an investment portfolio. 

Gold acts as a diversifier and a vehicle to mitigate losses in times of market stress. It can serve as a hedge against inflation and currency risk.

Key facts that investors should know:

The combination of these factors means that adding gold to a portfolio can enhance risk-adjusted returns. 

But how much gold should investors add to achieve the maximum benefit? Portfolio allocation analysis (based on the seminal work of Richard and Robert Michaud) indicates that investors who hold between 2% to 10% of their portfolio in gold can significantly improve performance. This is also true even when assuming a conservative average annual gold return of a modest 2% to 4% – well below its actual, long-term historical performance.

Understand why you should consider investing in gold by exploring our research library

Average annual gold demand ~4,100 tonnes* (approx US$166bn)

Why invest in gold? - Average annual gold demand ~4,100 tonnes* (approx US$166bn)

Gold demand estimates by sector:

  • Jewellery 54%
  • Investment 30%
  • Technology 10%
  • Central banks 6%

*Based on 10-year average demand estimates ending in 2016. Includes jewellery, technology, bars, coins and ETF demand. It excludes over-the-counter transactions.

Figures may not add to 100% due to rounding.
Source: Thomson Reuters GFMS, World Gold Council