Top 10 Gold Nuggets

by Todd Shriber

Gold’s recent performance has been lethargic by the yellow metal’s standards. But the reality is that the yellow metal is still one of the most popular kids at the financial markets party. Here’s a look at 10 fun and illuminating facts about gold:

10) Warren Buffett Really Doesn’t Like Gold

Gold isn’t the Oracle of Omaha’s favorite investment option, as Forbes notes. While Buffett has been wrong about gold, at least he has been consistent with the message. His dislike of the yellow metal dates back to at least the late 1990s.

9) A History Lesson

Yes, it was ages ago, but if all the gold mined during the California gold rush was tallied up in today’s U.S. dollars, the sum would be more than $50 billion.

8) Costs Rise, but Prices Rise Even More

The average production cost for replacing and producing an ounce of gold jumped from $281 an ounce in 2001 to $655 an ounce in 2008, according to the World Gold Council. The price varies in different parts of the world, but the average is currently estimated to be around $700 an ounce. So production costs haven’t even tripled in the past decade while gold prices have climbed roughly 500%.

7) India’s Reserves

With 614.6 tons of gold reserves, India boasts the 11th-largest total in the world, according to CNBC. The country is the world’s largest consumer of the yellow metal, Reuters reports.

6) Russian Replenishing

Earlier this year, the Central Bank of Russia announced plans to purchase 100 tons of gold per year to replenish its reserves, The Wall Street Journal reported.

5) History Lesson Part II

The first gold coins were produced in 700 BC and the history of gold being converted to money spans 2,600 years, according to

4) ETFs

The first exchange traded fund (ETF) backed by physical gold to trade in the U.S. was the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), which made its debut in November 2004. Today, GLD faces competition in the U.S. from the iShares COMEX Gold Trust (IAU), the ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (SGOL), and the ETFS Physical Asian Gold Shares (AGOL), just to name a few.

3) History Lesson Part III

Gold futures began trading in the U.S. in 1974 after a 41-year ban on gold ownership by private citizens was lifted, according to Inside Futures.

2) Production

Barrick Gold (ABX) was the world’s top gold miner as ranked by production by a wide margin in 2009 and 2010, Bloomberg reported.

1) Production Part II

Contrary to popular belief, South Africa is not the world’s top gold producer. In fact, South Africa is the fourth-largest behind China, the U.S., and Australia, according to Index Mundi.

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