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After Years Of Climbing, Gold Prices Slide


And let's stay on the topic of billionaires.



GREENE: Bloomberg News is reporting that billionaire investor John Paulson has lost more than $300 million as a result of the slide in gold prices. After climbing for years, gold has recently lost considerable ground. And it's widely expected to fall even further this week.

Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Over the past two years the Federal Reserve and other central banks have been pouring money into the economy as a way of stimulating growth, and some investors have become convinced that will cause inflation will heat up. So they've put a lot of their money into gold, which has traditionally been seen as a hedge against inflation.

Joel Naroff is an economist.

JOEL NAROFF: It became a real sexy thing to invest in. People thought, you know, we'd see continued increases in gold. Well, now there's a question of why gold prices should go up.

ZARROLI: On Friday, gold hit $1,480 an ounce, down from an all-time high of $1,924. One possible explanation for this reversal is that people are choosing to put their money in stocks instead of gold because stocks have been such a good investment recently. But Naroff says there may be no economic justification for the decline.

NAROFF: I think you have to really begin to recognize that a large part of the trading in gold is essentially a speculative financial asset.

ZARROLI: Whatever the reasons, many analysts are now saying that the long bull market in gold may be over, and that a rebound in prices could be several years away.

Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.