Spike in gold puts dollar's reserve status in question: Goldman Sachs

A record high price for gold, known as the currency of last resort, is raising questions about the U.S. dollar's future as the world's reserve currency, according to a Goldman Sachs research note published Tuesday.

The commodity, which tends to see increased demand during economic uncertainty, reached an unprecedented price of $1,943 an ounce this week, in part because of record-low interest rates that Goldman Sachs analysts said may demonstrate a stronger appetite for inflation at the Federal Reserve.

"Combined with a record level of debt accumulation by the US government, real concerns around the longevity of the US dollar as a reserve currency have started to emerge," the analysts wrote.

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The idea that the dollar may one day be seen as less of a safe currency jeopardizes its role as the world's reserve currency, a position that has given the U.S. financial system a tremendous advantage in global financial markets for decades.

Gold is a safe commodity because it is in limited supply and considered to have inherent value, which means fears of inflation or other economic turbulence like the coronavirus recession could drive up demand. Goldman Sachs increased its 12-month forecast for the price of gold from $2,000 to $2,300 an ounce.

Analysts said that while inflation risks remain low today, a confluence of factors coming together could push prices up in the future. Among those factors are record-low interest rates, new steps by the Federal Reserve to expand its balance sheet and rising debt.

Meanwhile, the Senate may soon hold a confirmation vote on a controversial Trump nominee, Judy Shelton, for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. Shelton has supported the gold standard in the past, a position that's unpopular on both sides of the aisle and in most economic circles.

GOP Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyNRCC poll finds McBath ahead of Handel in Georgia Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  MORE (Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsUnemployment debate sparks GOP divisions Obama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  MORE (Maine) have announced their opposition, meaning one more Republican could sink her nomination.

Shelton, who advised President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE's campaign in 2016, has called the Federal Reserve's power over financial markets and money “quite unhealthy.”