Physical gold is mostly bought and sold in OTC trading. By far the most important trading center since 1919 is the London Bullion Market. In twice held daily gold fixings the London Bullion Market Association sets the quality requirements to demand the "Good Delivery" standard, which includes a minimum purity of 99.5%. The fixed price is, however, always pure gold.
Parallel to the establishment of the U.S. dollar, gold price is quoted depending on the exchange rate of the Euro and British Pound. The current price of gold in Euros is almost never identical to the price in U.S. Dollars due to fluctuations in currency. It is useful to see gold as a commodity whose pricing is the relationship between supply and demand due to, yet still independently, changes in currency. In history, gold has always played a role as a reference for other currencies. Currencies were tied to the existence of gold deposits. From 1944 to 1971 this was under under the Bretton Woods system- the case in which the world's leading currency, the U.S. dollar, derived its legitimacy from the gold reserves of the United States. In August of 1971, under U.S. President Richard Nixon, the price of gold in U.S. dollars picked up, making the non-referential increase to the money supply in the form of a so-called fiat currency possible. Although gold has lost its importance as a stabilizing element for the U.S. dollar, it is still an indicator of the value of the U.S. currency. The price of gold today is like the "anti-dollar".
On each of the long-term gold price charts the phenomenal rise in gold prices in the 2000s with a temporary high in 2011 may well be read in reverse: that is, as a massive devaluation of the U.S. Dollar. In particular, this is demonstrated by the accelerated rise in prices in 2008, as a result of the banking crisis. During this time the scenario of a collapse of the dollar-based financial system was quite real. The reason that you cannot read this devaluation in the exchange rate, for example in the Euro, is because the European currency itself has lost much of its attractiveness. The yen, which reflects the strength and weakness of the Japanese economy, is not as good of a benchmark for the U.S. dollar. Gold, or the price of gold, plays a role that can currently not be replicated by any official currency. Halfway recognizable is the loss of value of world currency (except in gold) against the Chinese Yuan. This currency is however still not freely tradable and is set with ranges of variation tolerated by the Chinese government.
The relative decline of the U.S. economy, the inability of the Euro to take on the role of world reserve currency, and the uncertainty of China's ambitions having their own currency- taken together are a good starting point for a long-term rise in the gold price. According to OECD estimates in November 2012, the United States will lose its position as world's largest economy to China in 2016. The International Monetary Fund already came to the same conclusion in April 2011. It is economically unreasonable to assume that the U.S. dollar can keep long beyond that date as the world reserve currency. It is equally unlikely that China will be able to accommodate the Yuan’s ascencion at such short notice. The result is likely to be great confusion and uncertainty.. Nobody can predict what the global financial system will look like in ten or even five years. This uncertainty is what will elevate the price of gold to new heights. Gold has been and always will be a safe haven in times of economic turmoil.
While there are numerous ways to make money indirectly by investing in gold - options and certificates on gold and the shares of gold mining companies - none of these can equal in security the investment in physical gold. Physical gold as an investment is mainly available in two forms: gold bars and gold coins. Due to higher production costs and the collector value, the price of coins is slightly higher than that of bars. Gold bars also has a proprietary security feature like that found on banknotes or identity cards. Argor-Heraeus is a licensee of this technology for gold bars.
Gold bars are available as parts of an ounce, multiples of one troy ounce, grams, or kilograms and again as parts or multiples of these units of weight. Heavier gold bars and gold coins are cheaper than those in relation with lower weight. The price of gold for 1kg bars is therefore significantly less than the price of 1000 1g-bars. This rule also applies to gold coins. Troy ounces, parts, and multiples are much more common than expenditures in grams or kilograms. Among the most famous gold coins include Gold Eagle (USA), Krugerrands (South Africa), Maple Leaf (Canada) Gold Panda (China) and Vienna Philharmonic (Austria).