# John Paulson Likes Gold…More Than a Friend

John Paulson of Paulson & Co, the legendary hedge fund manager who made tens of billions betting on the mortgage crisis between 2007 to 2009, likes gold.  He really likes it.  He likes gold more than a friend.

To most market participants, this is not news, but here’s something you probably didn’t know:  Paulson owns more gold than several major countries!  Combined!

Here’s how we get that 110 tonne abstract to represent his gold position:

Based on several analyses of his filings, Paulson’s wagering roughly 15% of his \$30 billion hedge fund in the precious metal (\$4.3 billion).  His investment is spread out between ETFs, physical bullion and shares of gold mining stocks, but for the purpose of this discussion, we’re going to look at them in the aggregate as representational of a bet on gold (which they are).

I am using the “tonne” as my unit of measurement because that is how the World Gold Council measures a nation’s gold reserves.  A tonne is a metric ton, it equals 1000 kilograms.

Assuming Paulson & Co currently owns \$4.3 billion worth of gold and using the recent price of \$1100 per ounce of gold,  we come up with a total of 3.9 million ounces:

\$4,300,000,000 / 1100 oz = 3 909 090.91 ounces

Paulson’s 3.9 million ounces million ounces add up to 110 metric tonnes (35,273 ounces in a tonne):

3.9 million ounces divided by 35,273 oz per tonne = 110 tonnes

As can be seen in the chart above, Paulson holds more gold than many nations with individual populations in the millions and economies in the hundreds of billions.  His reasoning for being so bullish is that there are roughly \$200 trillion investable assets (in dollars) in the world, but only \$800 billion of that wealth is in gold.

Whether or not the world is truly under-invested in gold is up to you to decide, but Paulson’s bet is a big one by any measure.

Sources:

Reserve Asset Statistics (World Gold Council)

Paulson & Co 13 F Filings (SEC.Gov)

Investing Fads By Year 1996-Present  (TRB)

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