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Feb 09, 2021  |  News

Is Tesla signaling a move into gold? Could this be a new trend for companies sitting on a pile of cash?

(Kitco News) Bitcoin got all the attention after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a $1.5 billion investment in the cryptocurrency. But there was another major change to the company’s policy regarding cash holdings, and gold investors need to take notice.

Monday, not only did Tesla announce that it was investing in bitcoin and accepting bitcoin as payment for its vehicles, but the company also said that it could potentially invest in gold and gold-backed exchange-traded products.

“We may invest a portion of such cash in certain alternative reserve assets including digital assets, gold bullion, gold exchange-traded funds and other assets as specified in the future,” the company said in a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission.

The company said that it is looking at alternative assets as a hedge against growing currency risks in the marketplace.

“We transact business globally in multiple currencies and have foreign currency risks related to our revenue, costs of revenue, operating expenses and localized subsidiary debt denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar,” the company said in its filing. “If we do not have fully offsetting revenues in these currencies and if the value of the U.S. dollar depreciates significantly against these currencies, our costs as measured in U.S. dollars as a percent of our revenues will correspondingly increase and our margins will suffer.”

William Cai, a partner at Wilshire Phoenix, a company developing a new gold-backed ETF, said that while he doesn’t see Tesla jumping into the gold market with both feet anytime soon, this is an important example of alternative assets gaining further acceptance in mainstream markets.

Cai added that with inflation expectations starting to rise, it’s not surprising that a company like Tesla is looking to hedge some of its currency risks. He said that this could trigger a new trend in the marketplace.

“A lot of companies around the world are just sitting on piles of cash,” he said. “As we start to see purchasing power erode, this cash position is not without risk. I don’t see this as a game-changer for gold, but it adds another strong supportive element to the marketplace.”

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