This year has been forgettable for many reasons, but precious-metals observers have had to be on their toes in 2020 as they watched the price of gold and the price of silver enjoy rollercoaster rides no one will soon forget. That’s one of the many head-turning stories we’re compiling in this 2020 recap.
Here is the most important and intriguing gold news and reports on silver that made headlines this year:
Record-breaking gold prices
The pandemic and the uncertainty it created around the world economic outlook boosted gold’s price over the summer. At one point it exceeded $2070 USD an ounce, a record high, overtaking the last record high it enjoyed when it reached $1,921 in 2011.
That kind of upward swing might not abate soon. As Pavel Grachev, CEO of Polyus, the third largest gold miner in the world, said in October, according to Kitco: “We still believe the factors that generated the gold rally so far continue to persist and we do not expect major variations in the gold price going forward, at least not for the next 12 months.”
Silver’s rise and fall
Gold wasn’t alone in skyrocketing in value. When August 2020 rolled around, the price of silver reached $28 an ounce, a seven-year high. The raucous celebrations were put on ice, though, when silver fell to $23.88 the next month, and now holds steady at the $26 mark.
Some experts foresee the price of silver making up for lost ground in the autumn, in part thanks to the new U.S. president. “With a pick-up in the global economy, industrial demand for silver should increase,” according to media reports. “Bank of America predicted $29 oz. CIBC sees $32 oz….With a Biden administration in the White House, more investment in green tech like silver-dependent solar panels is expected.”
Analyzing gold left in world, state of gold mining
Two major feature reports on gold news from British outlets were shared heavily in 2020. BBC News wrote about how much gold there is left in the world, which is always top-of-mind for precious-metals watchers who realize that gold is a finite resource. The article stated that the below-ground stock of gold reserves is currently estimated to be around 50,000 tonnes, according to the US Geological Survey.
That figure needs some perspective: Around 190,000 tonnes of gold has been mined in total, and based on these rough figures, there is about 20% still to be mined. But this is a moving target, BBC News adds. After all, new technologies could make it possible to pull out some known reserves that aren’t currently economical to access.
The Guardian wrote about peak gold in October, and also asked the question: What is more valuable, keeping the gold in the ground, or taking it out? The report looked at political barriers, environmental tolls, and the role of gold recycling, and didn’t definitively conclude that one process is preferred over another. Instead, the piece focused on a large UK gold mine as a case study of the many facets mining companies have to consider when they embark on their next project.
Another year, another round of wild gold discoveries
Every year always gives us a spate of gold news related to excavators or treasure hunters or random folks finding valuable gold items that give hope to collectors everywhere.
In early December, a British family was weeding their garden when they discovered a trove of buried gold coins dating back to the 1400s, depicting English monarchs from Edward IV to Henry VIII. It’s valued at 18,600 US today.
Also in the UK, at an undisclosed location, residents found a 13th century medieval seal, bearing a Latin inscription reading “David, God's messenger, bishop of St. Andrews.”
In Israel, archaeologists unearthed a 3,00-year-old piece of jewellery believed to be from the period of the First Temple.
Dr Amir Golani, an archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority, told reporters: “Pieces of gold jewellery are rarely found among archaeological artifacts from the First Temple period. Gold in that period was not refined and generally contained a significant percentage of silver.”
And in one the most lucrative finds, two Australian diggers pulled out two gold nuggets worth $250,000 combined. One of the diggers told media: “I reckoned we were in for a chance. It was in a bit of virgin ground, which means it’s untouched and hasn't been mined.”
Scientific headline of the year
Gold news also made its way into the environmental realm. The article title says it all: “New polymer easily captures gold extracted from e-waste.”
What that means is that a new material was found to pull gold from disposed circuit boards, for example, and make it available to be used again. The report from Arstechnica states, “Given the results, the economic case for this technique seems easy to make. The researchers say the polymer costs about $5 per gram to produce, and that gram can capture $64 in gold. And since the polymer can be reused, it would be considerably cheaper than that over time, adding little to the overall cost of a recycling operation.”
This discovery comes at a key moment. As we learned in mid-2020, last year consumers around the world threw away $57 billion in e-waste, according to a report from the United Nations’ Global E-waste Monitor 2020.
Out of all the electronic goods thrown away, only 17.4% valued at $10 billion were recycled last year, the report said.
“This means that gold, silver, copper, platinum and other high-value, recoverable materials conservatively valued at US $57 billion—a sum greater than the Gross Domestic Product of most countries—were mostly dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse,” the report added.
Gold and silver news may only get more intriguing in 2021, as the economy stabilizes due to vaccine rollouts, yet uncertainty still lingers over the lasting impact of the pandemic on everyone’s portfolio (and bank account).
As the gold price faces an uncertain future ahead, you might be wondering about whether now is the right time to buy gold. If you’re considering it, be sure you work with an experienced gold seller such as GBS who can offer their insight and knowledge of this industry with you.
If you have questions about gold, silver or investing in gold, contact us anytime.
In an interview with one of the leading experts on silver shorts, GBS talks to Chris Marcus to learn more about the many angles of the silver story everyone has been talking about for several weeks.