Nicholas Larkin and Pham-Duy Nguyen
March 1, 2010
George Soros is helping drive up gold prices by doubling his bet in a market even he considers a “bubble” as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Barclays Capital and HSBC Holdings Plc predict more gains before it bursts.
Soros Fund Management LLC, which manages about $25 billion, increased its investment in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest exchange-traded fund for the metal, by 152 percent in the fourth quarter, a Feb. 16 Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows. While prices have fallen 8.9 percent since reaching a record on Dec. 3, 15 of 22 analysts in a Bloomberg survey say gold will reach a new high, with the median forecast predicting a 16 percent advance to as much as $1,300 an ounce this year.
“When interest rates are low we have conditions for asset bubbles to develop, and they are developing at the moment,” Soros said at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in January. “The ultimate asset bubble is gold,” he said.
In a Jan. 28 Bloomberg Television interview, the 79-year- old billionaire recalled that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan  warned of “irrational exuberance” in financial markets three years before the technology bubble burst in 2000. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose  89 percent in the period. Buying at the start of a bubble is “rational,” Soros said.