Tags: Goldman | ONeill | Safe | Havens

Goldman’s O'Neill: Safe Havens Don't Exist Anymore

Tuesday, 27 Sep 2011 07:59 AM

Investors should stop looking for safe havens to stash their money because such venues don't exist anymore, says Jim O'Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

"Any thoughts about persistent safe havens (other than perhaps cash under your mattress) are dangerous," O'Neill writes in a letter published by The Telegraph.

Many investors had used the Swiss franc (CHF) as a safe haven amid market volatility in Europe, but monetary authorities there took measures to limit the strength of the currency.

The move sent the franc plunging against other currencies.

"For many weeks, investors and journalists have been asking for my views on the next safe havens. My usual response, especially since the bold actions of the Swiss National Bank, is that such things don’t really exist," O'Neill says.

"Many instruments and currencies especially, can sometimes appear as safe havens, but as we have seen with the CHF, once policymakers choose to pursue certain policies, any notion of safe haven rightly vanishes."

Gold has also been viewed as a safe haven, particularly due to a weakening dollar, although the precious metal dropped dramatically.

"In this past week, the decline in gold prices has been dramatic, exhibiting the largest weekly fall since 1983. Not bad for a safe haven?"

Gold prices were approaching $2,000 an ounce but have fallen to closer to $1,630 and may drop even further.

Many investors are ditching gold to buy dollars on fears the euro will plunge.

"Support for the U.S. dollar has promoted natural weakness across the commodity space with the safety of gold not even immune to the decidedly risk-off atmosphere," says Christopher Gore, a currency analyst at Australian brokerage Go Markets, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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