Gold and silver prices rise

A gold mine (File/iStock)
A gold mine (File/iStock)

Gold and silver have been star performers this year on world markets.

The gold price has risen over 20 percent since the start of this year, trading at US$1325 per ounce.

Buyers who got in at the start of the year would have timed it well. By December 2015 gold had fallen by 40 percent from its 2011 peak. But it then enjoyed its best start to a year since 1980.

Silver has done even better. It has risen by around 40 percent to US$19 per ounce.

Both gold and silver are doing well because of the uncertainty on world markets.

Investors are concerned about just about everything you can think of.

There are political concerns - including the Brexit decision and the upcoming US Presidential election.

Low global interest rates are reducing the returns from savings accounts. That makes gold more attractive. Whereas when interest rates are high there is an opportunity cost from holding gold (because it does not pay an interest rate).

Some investors are buying gold because they see it as protection from potential falls in the housing and stock markets.

Analysts are split over where gold and silver might go from here. If US interest rates rise that could have an impact. So will the outcome of the US Presidential election.

The returns for New Zealand gold investors are affected by the movement of the New Zealand dollar. The rise of the Kiwi has dented the returns for local investors.

Gold is up around 15 percent in New Zealand dollars since January, trading at around $1800 per ounce.

It is still a good return, but not as large as the return for US investors.

Silver is up about 25 percent since the start of the year in New Zealand dollars, trading at $26 per ounce.