Guide to gold

Spot Gold

The spot market is where professional bullion dealers buy and sell gold for more-or-less immediate settlement.

The spot market is not a place; it doesn't have a location. It is a distributed market made up of professional bullion market participants from around the world who share a common set of rules and standards regarding how to trade gold with each other.

When dealers quote the spot price to each other these are the main assumptions they are making :-

  1. That the buyer is paying in full in 48 hours.
  2. That the price quoted is in US dollars per troy ounce.
  3. That the gold will be Unallocated at the point of trade, with a right to allocate without further cost in London.
  4. That bars will be Good Delivery gold bars manufactured by refiners on the good delivery list maintained by the London Bullion Market Association.
  5. That the units of delivery will be whole 400 oz bars.
  6. That the buyer will send a recognized specialist bullion courier to the sellers vault door for the collection, at the buyer's expense.

By making these assumptions between themselves gold dealers do not waste lots of time deciding on all these variables every time they want to do a deal. The assumed defaults of 'Spot' decides them, and makes everyone's lives easier.

How To Get Spot Gold#

Generally the spot market's participant gold dealers will not deal with private individuals. This is a pragmatic business decision, because the spot market deals high volume on low margins. Setting up accounts, checking identities, and performing credit checks is expensive and tedious, and because private buyers tend to buy only a few bars, and hold onto them for years, there is no profit in it for the professional dealer. They do not want your personal business.

After a considerable personal effort you might be able to enjoy the attractive pricing of spot gold by dealing through a bank, but the bank will firstly try to catch your money for free by selling you unallocated gold.

If you show how smart you are by insisting on allocation, then that will make it impossible even for many banks to deal for you, because they deal exclusively on an unallocated basis to avoid the physical gold market and the hassles of allocation, settlement and storage. Most banks - even those which deal gold - do not have a bullion vault. Their vaulting, to the extent they do any allocated business at all, is subcontracted to either HSBC or JP Morgan Chase, which concentrate in the wholesale market.

Fortunately the inaccessibility of the spot market does not matter now as much as it used to, because you can get very close to spot gold dealing on BullionVault. Never mind 400oz bars, you can get close to spot prices, with properly allocated physical gold, all the way down to one gram ($61 at May-23 prices - view the live spot gold price chart).

BullionVault will use its own spot market dealing and vaulting facilities on your behalf. You will be able to buy gold directly on the spot market at tiny commissions, and store your bars at a fraction of the cost of big bank storage, in fully recognized professional bullion market vaults. Insurance is included.

To deal whole bars on the spot market you will first need to get yourself better informed. Then contact BullionVault. Go and visit the site for contact details.

Please Note: This analysis is published to inform your thinking, not lead it. Previous price trends are no guarantee of future performance. Before investing in any asset, you should seek financial advice if unsure about its suitability to your personal circumstances.

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