December 3, 2013
As we showed back in April, the marginal cost of production of gold (90% percentile) in 2013 was estimated at between $1250 and $1300 including capex. Which means that as of a few days ago, gold is now trading well below not only the cash cost, but is rapidly approaching the marginal cash cost of $1125… Of course, should the central banks of the world succeed in driving the price of gold to or below its costs of production (repressing yet another asset class into stocks) then we fear the repercussions will backfire from a combination of bankruptcies, unemployment, and as we have already seen in Africa – severe social unrest (especially notable as China piles FDI into that region).
Which means that of the following mines (as we showed here) which make up the gold cost curve,one by one, starting on the right and going left, production is going to go dark, even without the recent demand by South African gold miner labor unions to have their wages doubled. Until eventually virtually no gold will be produced.
It is at that point where one must apply the New Normal supply and demand curve, when one can predict a $0 per ounce price for gold, as physical demand continues unabated, while actual physical, not paper, production has now started going offline.
Joking aside, not even Bernanke, Yellen, or all the paper Gold ETFs in the world will be able to do much to suppress gold prices from reaching their fair value when gold production hits a standstill, and when demands, especially by China, is still in the hundreds of tons each year.