Of all theprecious metals,gold is the most popular as an investment. Investors generally buy gold as a hedge or harbor against economic, political. or socialfiat currency crises (including investment market declines, burgeoning national debt, currency failure, inflation, war and social unrest). The gold market is subject to speculation as are other markets, especially through the use offutures contracts andderivatives. The history of thegold standard, the role ofgold reserves incentral banking, gold's lowcorrelation with othercommodity prices, and its pricing in relation tofiat currencies during theLate-2000s financial crisis, suggest that gold behaves more like acurrency than a commodity.
Gold has been used throughout history asmoney and has been a relative standard for currency equivalents specific to economic regions or countries, until recent times. Many European countries implementedgold standards in the latter part of the 19th century until these were temporarily suspended in the financial crises involvingWorld War I. AfterWorld War II, theBretton Woods system pegged the United States dollar to gold at a rate of US$35 pertroy ounce. The system existed until the 1971Nixon Shock, when the US unilaterally suspended the direct convertibility of the United States dollar to gold and made the transition to afiat currency system. The last currency to be divorced from gold was theSwiss Franc in 2000.
Since 1919 the most common benchmark for the price of gold has been theLondon gold fixing, a twice-daily telephone meeting of representatives from fivebullion-trading firms of theLondon bullion market. Furthermore, gold is traded continuously throughout the world based on the intra-dayspot price, derived fromover-the-counter gold-trading markets around the world (code "XAU"). The following table sets forth the gold price versus various assets and key statistics