It feels a little callous writing about Japan with respect to precious metals after the country suffered such a terrible tragedy. However, I think it’s worth discussing because there’s a lesson in it for all of us. In fact, I think the moral could be couched in terms of a warning.
One of my best friends recently discovered, to his shock and dismay, that five one-ounce gold coins had been stolen from his home. I feel especially bad because I had encouraged him to buy some physical metal, giving him some tips and pointing him to the better dealers.
There have been numerous reports of bullion shortages in many parts around the world, along with rising premiums. And the two explanations – we’re running out of gold! and, it’s just a manufacturing bottleneck – are at odds with one another. So, who’s right?
One of the cheapest ways to buy and store physical gold and silver is with unallocated (or pool) storage. With unallocated storage, a dealer holds metal that is owned by its customers, but without identifying any particular piece of metal belonging to any particular customer.