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A good alternative: Why you should Invest in gold via a structured route

Structured gold products offer a range of benefits and opportunities for investors

Gold, renowned for its historical resilience and value appreciation amid economic turbulence, emerges as a compelling choice. (Bloomberg)Premium
Gold, renowned for its historical resilience and value appreciation amid economic turbulence, emerges as a compelling choice. (Bloomberg)

In an era of financial intricacies and market uncertainties, understanding the significance of portfolio stability and diversification is paramount. Gold, renowned for its historical resilience and value appreciation amid economic turbulence, emerges as a compelling choice. With a low correlation to equity markets, gold serves as an effective diversification tool, reducing portfolio volatility while enhancing risk-adjusted returns. Additionally, gold’s performance during rate-cut cycles and its role as a store of value further underscore its relevance in navigating diverse market conditions.

Gold as a hedge: Gold has historically demonstrated its resilience during times of economic uncertainty, often appreciating when other assets falter. Its value tends to hold steady, if not appreciate, during periods of economic uncertainty. The consistent depreciation of the dollar/rupee exchange rate has become a defining characteristic of the Indian financial landscape. Against this backdrop, gold has emerged as a compelling choice, as its value often appreciates in response to currency fluctuations. Over the past decade, gold prices (in rupees) have witnessed notable growth due to a 52% depreciation of rupee/dollar, solidifying its role as a currency hedge.

Low correlation: Gold exhibits a remarkably low correlation of -0.15 (approximately) with the Nifty in the period of 2000-2023, making it an ideal diversification tool.

Reduces volatility: Incorporating gold into your equity portfolio, even in modest proportions, can significantly diminish volatility while preserving returns. Data shows that adding an allocation of gold to an equity portfolio, say Nifty 50 index, from 0% to 10% decreases the annual volatility from 6.4% to 5.8% and increases the Sharpe ratio from 1.75 to 1.91, thereby providing much better risk adjusted returns.

Gold’s resilience: Gold’s resilience shines in economic turbulence. During significant market downturns like December 2007 to November 8 (-55% Nifty, +18% Gold), Dec ‘10 to Dec ‘11 (-25% Nifty, +36% Gold), Feb ‘15 to Feb ‘16 (-22% Nifty, +9% Gold), and Dec ‘19 to May ‘20 (-21% Nifty, +21% Gold), gold consistently outperformed, acting a reliable hedge against market volatility.

Historical track record: Gold has thrived during major rate-cutting cycles by the Federal Reserve in this millennium. Considering the current high interest rate environment and future expectations of rate cuts, the current macroeconomic environment is lucrative for gold investments. The recent two rate cuts done by the Federal Reserve during the 2008 crisis and covid-19 pandemic has resulted in gold appreciating at an astounding average CAGR of 40% per annum. Considering the current all-time high interest rate regimes of the federal reserve and future expectations of rate cuts, the macroeconomic environment right now look ripe for investments in gold.

Gold also holds an immense store of value. For one, it’s immune to inflation as Gold’s purchasing power remains unaffected by inflation or currency devaluation. Second, it also serves as a safeguard against political and economic turbulence. In fact, gold has emerged as the safest asset class for investment during geopolitical stress. This can even be seen in central banks worldwide bolstering their gold reserves recently. In 2022, purchases tripled historical averages of 450 million tonnes.

To move beyond physical gold, structured gold products have been gaining popularity in recent years as investors seek alternative ways to invest in the precious metal. These products offer investors the opportunity to gain exposure to gold while also benefiting from enhanced returns and added flexibility. Structured gold products are financial instruments that combine the properties of a traditional gold investment and can provide (safety from the impact of any down move in the gold price) additional features such as principal preservation.

Flexibility and customization: It offers investors the opportunity to customize their investments based on their risk appetite and investment goals. These products can be structured in various ways, offering different investment horizons, risk levels, and return profiles.

Principal preservation: Furthermore, structured gold products often provide investors with additional features, such as principal preservation. These features can help mitigate risks and provide a more predictable return stream. During times of crises when cash is king and all assets sell off, having a downside-preserved exposure to gold is vastly better than an outright position in most assets.

In conclusion, structured gold products are a unique and increasingly popular way for investors to gain exposure to gold. With their flexibility, downside shield, and customizable features, these products offer a range of benefits and opportunities for investors. However, investors should carefully research and take advice from their financial advisor before investing in structured gold product.

Mudit Singhania is head-commodities, Alpha Alternatives

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Published: 06 Dec 2023, 10:21 PM IST
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