The global volatility that has rocked markets since the start of 2016 has investors fleeing for one well-known though often derided haven: gold.
And it has served them well.
Since the start of the year, the precious metal has shown returns above equities, Treasuries, investment grade bonds, all currencies, and major stock indexes in both emerging and developing countries, according to Bloomberg.
Gold, also referred to as the “fear index” since investors pile into the commodity in times of market uncertainty and volatility, has showed gains of 16% this year. April Gold is currently at $1,234.40 an ounce, following its largest monthly gain in nearly four years.
The world’s largest exchange-traded fund for bullion, SPDR Gold Shares, brought in a whopping $4.55 billion in new investments—the most among all U.S.-listed ETFs.
“Last summer, people were calling it a barbaric relic, and nobody could care less about gold. Now, it’s slowly generating more and more buying,” said Dan Denbow, a portfolio manager at the USAA Precious Metals and Minerals Fund to Bloomberg.
Wall Street analysts however are questioning if the rally is warranted.
Goldman Sachs analysts wrote last week that the rising cost of gold could be traced back to investors’ uncertainty regarding the global markets, though U.S. data has shown that the nation is cushioned against such headwinds. Goldman analysts set a 3-month target of $1,100 per ounce.
Other the other end, analysts expecting recession fears to crest much later say prices reach $1,400.
But Oversea-Chinese Banking economist Barnarbas Gan, who is in that camp, also wrote that should the Federal Reserve decide to increase interest rates, prices could recede to $1,000 to $1,150, Bloomberg reported.