– Gold has yet another purpose and may help fight cancer
– Gold increases effectiveness of drugs used to treat cancer cells by acting as catalyst – research shows
– Use of gold in technology and health growing each year
– Tech use to increase- number of patent applications in 2017 grew
– Industrial applications such as solar and bio-metrics reduce availability of above ground supply and gold for investment
– Another string to the bow of gold and potential impact on sentiment towards gold and on the gold price
– ‘Could gold finally have a purpose?’ bizarre headline ignores gold’s 2,500 plus year history as a means of exchange, money and a store of value
Editor: Mark O’Byrne
Real, scientific evidence has been popping up for a while now which suggests the precious metal can make some major contributions to the world of science and medicine.
As a fan of Goldschläger I have long been convinced of the health benefits of gold and just last week a research team at Edinburgh University announced results that showed gold nanoparticles could increase the effectiveness of drugs used to treat lung cancer cells.
This latest announcement from the field of science is one of many which have been cropping up outside of the investment space, from medicine to solar panels to space technology, gold is making significant strides when it comes to its place outside of the financial world.
In the last quarter, gold used in technology rose 2% y-o-y, according to the World Gold Council. This was mainly thanks to a growth in demand for bonding wire, Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) and LEDs.
It is not surprising that gold has a place beyond money. Due to it high conductivity, chemical stability and compatibility with other elements it is an ideal candidate in many applications.
As technology and research improves the number of use cases for gold is growing each year. This is beneficial for those who are investing in physical gold bullion.
Demand for gold’s physical properties in science takes it out of circulation and increases the demand for physical gold thereby reducing the availability for investment purposes.
Below, we take a quick look at some of the use cases of gold and explain why this is good news for the gold market.
Scientific research into the health benefits of gold has been going on for some time. But, as we have seen with other alternative treatments such as colloidal silver, there have been occasional negative results and this has slowed research in this area.
Frequently uses for gold in medicine are pushed to the wayside due to a lack of technology that can maximise the benefits of the metal. This means side effects have been serious and enough to outweigh the benefits for many users.
For example, in 1935 studies into the benefits of ‘gold salts’ were carried out. The term refers to gold compounds used in medicine, a practice known as aurotherapy. One of the main uses for gold compounds in health was as an anti-inflammatory. However it was rarely encouraged by the medical mainstream due to unwanted side effects such as skin discolouration, chrysiasas and kidney issues.
But, as scientific methods improve research is able to find ways to harness the benefits of the precious metal without such dramatic side effects, as we have seen with this latest news. This is mainly thanks to the growing role of tech in health, as scientists work to see how we can use technology to improve diagnoses and treatment, rather than just look to chemicals and how they might cure us.
A (perhaps) more impressive use for gold in health was revealed last year, in Israel when researchers from the Israel Institute of Technology developed sensors made from gold nanoparticles which can be used in a breath test in order to identify different diseases.
Whilst the test is not yet accurate enough for mainstream use, the Institute’s sensors could identify the specific disease 86% of the time after allowing for factors such as age and gender.
Health remains a small field for gold as scientists work to perfect developments, but it can look to the area of technology for inspiration in terms of its potential.
Gold’s in vogue – energy and security
One of the major criticisms of gold, by the environmental lobby is the energy intensive process involved in mining for gold.
Whilst mining companies work to reduce their impact on the environment, the yellow metal is being used in energy harnessing methods through solar panels and so is almost working on the flip side of this issue.
In 2011 a team of French and Dutch scientists found that a discontinuous film of gold nanodots just 0.5nm thick, across a solar panel could improve the efficiency of organic photovoltaic cells (already a low cost option in alternative energy). This layer needed to just cover 15% of the cells in order to see an improvement in performance.
Of course, solar panels and alternative energy sources are increasingly important, especially as governments fight to work out a solution to the energy crisis. Another area growing rapidly (much to many readers’ chagrins) is the area of biometric security.
That trendy smartphone you have that lets you access your information using your fingerprint, is most likely using gold bonding wire. The wire is a key component in this area which has recently hit the mainstream.
In 2016 Samsung and Huawe began to use biometric security in their products. As a result, sensor makers in mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea were operating at full capacity leading them to increase both prices and lead time to meet demand.
‘Could gold have yet another purpose?…’
One of the headlines about this news that grabbed our attention was courtesy of CNBC, it read ‘Could gold finally have a purpose? New research says it could help in the fight against cancer.’
Might we suggest that the headline needs rewriting? Perhaps to read, ‘Could gold have yet another purpose?…’
As we said at the beginning, this latest announcement from the field of science is one of many which have been cropping up from medicine to solar panels to space technology, gold is making huge strides when it comes to its place outside of the financial world.
Gold save all ills? Financial disaster and now cancer
Gold retains an important place and a role in the financial and monetary world. It has been money for over 2,500 years and it continues to be. Not only for those in India and China, but also central banks and investors who see the purpose of gold as one of financial protection and long-term benefits.
The growing use of gold in industrial applications suggests that these new uses for gold have the potential to increase demand, reduce supply and increase the attractiveness of this ever-useful metal. In turn, this extra demand leads to more broad based demand and could lead to higher prices.
It is also worth asking if the industrial gold element of the market will be enough to cause physical gold demand to have more influence on the price of gold. Currently it is primarily driven by the paper and electronic market.
There is another way to look at this as well, investing in anything to do with tech is very fashionable right now, but it can also be as risky – see the FANG (Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google) stocks as an example.
So, when investing in physical, allocated gold you are not only investing in sound money but also a technological asset, which has a lot more real world uses backing it than a trendy online platform.
In short, gold is coming back in fashion and more importantly is becoming more useful by the day.
News and Commentary
Gold Prices (LBMA AM)
14 Aug: USD 1,281.10, GBP 987.34 & EUR 1,085.48 per ounce
11 Aug: USD 1,288.30, GBP 993.67 & EUR 1,096.47 per ounce
10 Aug: USD 1,278.90, GBP 985.39 & EUR 1,091.67 per ounce
09 Aug: USD 1,267.95, GBP 974.80 & EUR 1,079.79 per ounce
08 Aug: USD 1,261.45, GBP 967.78 & EUR 1,068.20 per ounce
07 Aug: USD 1,257.55, GBP 963.41 & EUR 1,065.90 per ounce
04 Aug: USD 1,269.30, GBP 964.92 & EUR 1,068.37 per ounce
Silver Prices (LBMA)
14 Aug: USD 16.97, GBP 13.09 & EUR 14.39 per ounce
11 Aug: USD 17.09, GBP 13.18 & EUR 14.53 per ounce
10 Aug: USD 17.08, GBP 13.14 & EUR 14.57 per ounce
09 Aug: USD 16.59, GBP 12.76 & EUR 14.14 per ounce
08 Aug: USD 16.39, GBP 12.57 & EUR 13.87 per ounce
07 Aug: USD 16.13, GBP 12.35 & EUR 13.67 per ounce
04 Aug: USD 16.70, GBP 12.71 & EUR 14.07 per ounce
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