Owning gold is a way to get out of this “debt trap”, but governments don’t want you to own gold, especially in Germany
Germans, like Indians and Chinese, love their gold – although their reasons for buying and keeping bullion are somewhat different.
In China and India, gold jewelry is a status symbol – a sign of wealth and success. In Germany, owning gold bars and coins, maybe a 24-karat necklace or two, is a means of preserving wealth, especially in times of war or economic crisis, something never far from Germans’ minds, considering their history.
Indeed the “war guilt” Germans experience over the atrocities of Nazi Germany is accompanied by fears that their government could again lose control of fiat money, as the Weimar Republic did in the 1920s, leading to devastating hyper-inflation.
In India “a marriage is not a marriage without gold.” Indians find it auspicious to be-gift gold jewelry during the Diwali festival, which begins in October, and wedding season. Gold-shopping for the bride is thought to bring good fortune and invoke the blessings of a Hindu goddess. At nearly 20 million weddings a year, Indians’ annual demand for the precious metal exceeds 514 tonnes. Easy to see why the country’s private gold holdings are the largest in the world, a mind-boggling 24,000 tonnes. (almost as much as the world’s top 10 central bank holdings combined)
However in 2016 China overtook India as the world’s top buyer of gold jewelry. The country’s growing throng of affluent consumers is driving demand for gold rings, bracelets and necklaces, especially in January and February when many Chinese purchase gold jewelry as gifts for Chinese New Year. According to McKinsey & Company, by 2025 China will represent up to 44% of the global luxury jewelry market.
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