Some Thoughts on the Value of Gold

Reversion to the Mean

In an April 16, 2013 Wall Street Journal video interview, Mark Hulbert mentions that a recent academic study places gold’s fundamental value at approximately $800.00 per ounce.(1)

I did some key-words-searches to verify such a study exists, and I found the study to which Mr. Hulbert is referring. The study was conducted by a former commodities trader for Trust Company of the West, Claude Erb and a Finance Professor at Duke University, Campbell Harvey.(2) The study is based upon a time series of rates of inflation as compared to the fluctuations in value of the hedge against inflation (gold). The study puts the mean value of gold, over a long historical time series, at approximately $800.00 per ounce.

It’s also interesting to note, recent industry estimates for the average costs-of-production for one ounce of gold are approximately $600.00.(3) Which raises the question, what premium should a gold buyer pay, to buy the next ounce produced, of a commodity which costs $600.00 per ounce to produce? Or, expressed another way, what is the fair-market (competitive) profit one should expect for producing an ounce of gold?

And, MarketWatch pub. The Wall Street Journal 4/16/2013, at:
2. The Golden Dilemma By Claude Erb and Campbell Harvey Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN) first posted 6/6/12 at:
3. The Production Cost of Gold May Surprise You pub. 4/23/2013, at:

On A Clear Day . . .

 Many politicians, some federal regulators, and many vocal media commentators claim that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and its regulatory evolution had nothing to do with the creation of the U.S. housing and mortgage bubble. It seems that, at some point in the near future, an objective review of the facts may require a revision of the claim that the CRA was not a significant factor in the creation of the U.S. housing and mortgage bubble.1


The Community Reinvestment Act: Its Evolution and New Challenges*

A speech by Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke 

At the Community Affairs Research Conference, Washington, D.C.

March 30, 2007

From the third paragraph below the heading: The Evolution of The CRA

Even as these developments were occurring, extensive change was taking place in the financial services sector. During the 1980s and 1990s, technological progress significantly improved data collection and information processing, which led to the development and widespread use of credit-scoring models and the availability of generic credit history scores. Deregulation also contributed to the changes in the marketplace. Notably, the lifting of prohibitions against interstate banking was followed by an increased pace of industry consolidation. Also, the preemption of usury laws on home loans created more scope for risk-based pricing of mortgages. Securitization of affordable housing loans expanded, as did the secondary market for those loans, in part reflecting a 1992 law that required the government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to devote a percentage of their activities to meeting affordable housing goals (HUD, 2006). A generally strong economy and lower interest rates also helped improved access to credit by lower-income households.

1. To see reasoning which strongly opposes the view that the CRA was not an influence in the creation of the bubble,see: The Financial Crisis on Trial By Peter J. Wallison - WSJ OPINION pub. December 21, 2011 at: