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Article posted Feb 20 2012, 2:16 AM Category: Economy Source: Bloomberg Print

Gold Bulls Expand as Billionaire Paulson Says Buy

By Nicholas Larki

Gold traders are getting more bullish after billionaire hedge-fund manager John Paulson told investors it’s time to buy the metal as protection against inflation caused by government spending.

Twelve of 22 surveyed by Bloomberg expect prices to gain next week and five were neutral. Paulson & Co. is already the biggest investor in the SPDR Gold Trust, the largest exchange- traded product backed by bullion, with a stake valued at $2.9 billion, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Feb. 14 showed. Investors have 2,389.7 metric tons in ETPs, within 0.2 percent of the record reached in December and more than all but four central banks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Speculators in U.S. gold futures are now their most bullish since September after the Bank of England and Bank of Japan said they will buy more assets and the Federal Reserve said it was considering purchasing more bonds. Central banks are also expanding their bullion reserves, adding 439.7 tons last year, the most in almost five decades. They may buy a similar amount in 2012, the London-based World Gold Council said yesterday.

“The appalling state of fiscal finances of most industrial nations does lead to concerns about the possibility of inflation,” said Mark O’Byrne, executive director of Dublin- based GoldCore Ltd., a brokerage that sells everything from quarter-ounce British Sovereigns to 400-ounce bars. “Gold is a crucial diversification given the various risks out there.”

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