Brown Bottom

As the price of gold today hits a historic 27 year high, Guido wishes he had bought more for his daughters. We all make mistakes as traders don’t we? Gordon Brown’s great mistake is of a different order altogether and is remembered by the gold market players with much fondness and clinking of champagne glasses.

In an act of macro-economic stupidity bordering on treason, he told the market – in advance – that it was his intention to sell off Britain’s gold reserves. When selling a lot of something, and this was 200 years of accumulated gold, it is not thought wise to loudly forewarn buyers in an open market. The market immediately sold off and went short the yellow metal. The dip in prices during what followed is known in the market as the Brown Bottom and was a twenty year low.

Today, the old fashioned solid-state store of value is now 230% higher than when Gordon unloaded the Treasury’s reserves. The fiat dollars he bought with some of the proceeds have halved. The government’s debt (including pension liabilities) has now broken the trillion pound barrier.

Gilt edged government debt is no longer backed by gold under the Bank of England, but by ever rising taxes. Gordon’s reputation in the City is a joke.


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