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Gold Price Inflation

Market Analyst & Professional Speculator, Owner of The Speculative Investor
November 12, 2018

Here are two long-term charts illustrating the annual rate at which gold is extracted from the ground. The second of these charts shows why mine production can be ignored when trying to understand what happened to the gold price over the preceding few years or figure out what’s likely to happen to the gold price over the next few years.

The first chart shows the amount of gold produced by the global mining industry during each year from 1900 through to 2017 (data sourced from the US Geological Survey). The second chart shows the percentage increase in the world’s above-ground gold supply during each year (1900-2017) resulting from that year’s new mine production. In effect, the second chart shows the gold inflation rate.

Notice that over the past 70 years the annual rate of gold inflation has almost always been between 1.5% and 2.0% and has never strayed far from the 1.5%-2.0% range. In other words, regardless of what’s happening in the world, the total supply of gold increases by approximately the same tiny amount each year.

Over the past 60 years, trend changes in the annual rate of gold inflation appear to be lagged reactions to major price changes, with the 7-10 year lag being due to the time it takes from a major price-related incentive to appear and new mines to be brought into production. For example, the upward trend in the gold inflation rate that began in the early-1980s was probably a reaction to the major price advance that began in the early-1970s.


Steve SavilleSteve Saville graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1984 with a degree in electronic engineering and from 1984 until 1998 worked in the commercial construction industry as an engineer, a project manager and an operations manager.  In 1993, after studying the history of money, the nature of our present-day fiat monetary system and the role of banks in the creation of money,  Saville developed an interest in gold.  In August 1999 he launched The Speculative Investor (TSI) website. Steve Saville has  lived in Asia (Hong Kong, China and Malaysia) since 1995 and currently resides in Malaysian Borneo.  

Gold is still being mined and refined at the rate of almost 2,600 tonnes per year.
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