Why trade gold instead of investing in gold?
Gold has been considered a valuable physicalasset for thousands of years, but many people shy away from buying it because they think they can only do so by investing. But there is another option: trading gold.
Why Trade Gold Rather than Owning Physical Gold?
The most obvious way to invest in gold is to buy gold in its physical form—that is, bars and coins. The problem with buying gold in its physical form is that doing so involves considerable transportation and storage costs. Moreover, physical gold is relatively illiquid, so it is meant for buy-and-hold gold investors only.
Another option, also in the investing category, is investing in gold stocks, such as mining companies, either individually or through mutual funds. While these investments provide investors with exposure to the gold and are more liquid than physical gold, they don’t offer the pure gold exposure many gold traders demand. Moreover, at times gold stocks will move down with the market as a whole when there is no problem with the company or with gold as an asset, and that can add a level of risk to your investment.
Another option is a gold-related exchange-traded fund (ETF). ETFs are pools of investments that trade on an exchange like stocks. Typically, gold ETFs are intended to track a percentage of an ounce of gold, so in that sense they are a way to trade physical gold. While ETFs can be good for speculators who wish to buy gold or sell it short, there are downsides. You don’t have title to the underlying asset—the gold itself—and administrative fees may be unappealing to some investors.
You can invest in a paper representation of gold, such as futures and options. Futures and options are contracts or options to buy or sell a specific security or commodity (such as gold) at a specific price at a specific time. Futures contracts are used to trade gold in the short-term; rarely does a gold trader take delivery of the gold. While trading gold with a futures contract does have “counterparty” risk—the possibility that the person on the other side of the contract won’t deliver—the fact that gold contracts are traded on established exchanges minimize the possibility of losing money when trading gold.
Finally, you can trade the so-called spot gold live chart, which lets you take a long or short position in gold while simultaneously taking the opposite position in the U.S. dollar—so trading spot gold is much like trading forex pairs. We’ll talk about trading spot gold more in another article.