(from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia)
Of all the precious metals, gold is the most popular as an investment. Investors generally buy gold as a hedge or safe haven against any economic, political, social or currency-based crises. These crises include investment market declines, burgeoning national debt, currency failure, inflation, war and social unrest. Investors also buy gold early in a bull market and aim to sell it before a bear market begins, in an attempt to gain financially.
Gold has been used throughout history as a form of payment and has been a relative standard for currency equivalents specific to economic regions or countries. Many European countries implemented gold standards in the later part of the 19th century until these were dismantled in the financial crises involving World War I. After World War II, the Bretton Woods system pegged the United States dollar to gold at a rate of US$35 per troy ounce. The system existed until the 1971 Nixon Shock, when the US unilaterally suspended the direct convertibility of the United States dollar to gold.
Since 1919 the most common benchmark for the price of gold has been the London gold fixing, a twice-daily telephone meeting of representatives from five bullion-trading firms of the London bullion market. Furthermore, gold is traded continuously throughout the world based on the intra-day spot price, derived from over-the-counter gold-trading markets around the world. The following table sets forth the gold price versus various assets and key statistics