The History of Gold Prices Since World War II

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Gold as an investment is considered an inflation hedge and protection against economic troubles. Gold the metal is used in manufacturing and jewelry as well as a store of wealth for investors. The recent history of gold prices has been very volatile.

Gold Standard

  • From WWII until 1971, the U.S. fixed the price of gold at $35 per ounce. President Nixon eliminated the fixed gold price in 1971, allowing gold prices to move with market demand.

The 1970s

  • After the U.S. dropped the gold standard, gold prices crept up slowly, hitting $100 in May 1973. The price varied between $100 and $150 until the end of 1977. Gold moved steadily upward in 1978 and 1979 and peaked at $850 an ounce on Jan. 21, 1980

1980s and 1990s

  • Gold dropped in price $113 on Jan. 22, 1980, starting a long downward trend in price. The initial drop was to $315 in March 1982. Prices exceeded $450 at the end of 1982 and again in April through June of 1987, but the two-decade trend was lower prices. By late 2000, gold was around $250 per ounce.

The 21st century

  • Gold prices started a sharp climb in early 2002. It hit $400 in December 2003, $500 in December 2005 and $700 in May 2006. The previous record of $850 was passed on Jan. 2, 2008. Gold peaked at $1,011 on March 17, 2008.

Range bound

  • From March 2008 until the end of July 2009 gold fluctuated between $750 and $1,000 per ounce. Only once, on Feb. 20, 2009, has the $1,000 mark been exceeded, but that was during trading, and the price closed the day at $989.

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