Generally, there are a few asset classes for your investment portfolio which you would need to be aware of. They are cash or cash equivalents, equities, bonds, real estate, commodities. Moreover, these can be further divided into sub classes. For example, commodities can be broadly divided into 3 sub classes of Precious Metals, Energy and other commodities, simply because all 3 have slightly different characteristics which justifies further classification. We can also divide equities into 3 sub classes. They are defensive stable dividend paying stocks, growth stocks, high risk speculative new venture stocks
For a balanced portfolio, it is always advised that you have some investments in all of the above mentioned classes.
So, which asset class does gold fall into. Gold is a very unique asset. It falls under the commodity class and specifically the precious metals sub class. However, it also can be cash or cash equivalents, as a universal store of value. In this respect, it can be traded as a forex pair like XAUUSD, XAUJPY.
Characteristics and Trend Behavior
We will discuss the characteristics for gold as an precious metals asset class, characteristic for gold as an cash or cash equivalent and its trend behaviour
Characteristic of Gold as a Precious Metal
The main characteristics of the commodity class is that it does not pay anything for holding it. It does not bear interest. Neither does it pay dividend. You make a profit mainly from the difference in the price you bought and the price you sell.
Another characteristic is that its value is primarily driven by market demand and market supply. For example, in the case of soy beans, when demand shifts up, the price goes up. And if, there is a supply shock, for example natural disasters affecting soy bean plantation, the price goes up too.
Another characteristic is that there is physical delivery of the commodity that is purchased.
However, Gold is also part of the sub class of Precious Metals which has an additional characteristic of this sub class. This is limited supply. Because it is mined, there is a limit to how much supply there is. You will find that this is especially so for the case of gold. So, in the case of gold, its price is determined more on the demand side, rather than the supply side.