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Fund Manager to Lose Hair After Betting on $2,000 Bullion

Charles Oliver, a Sprott Asset Management Inc. portfolio manager in Toronto, will have his head shaved today after losing a bet on the gold price.

Oliver joined Sprott in January 2008 and told clients at a meeting four months later he was so convinced bullion would reach $2,000 an ounce by April 16, 2012, he was willing to stake his hair on it. Gold was at $945 an ounce at the time.

“We got to $1,923 last September, I thought it was all good and easy straight from there on in,” Oliver, who co-manages the C$500 million ($501 million) Sprott Gold and Precious Metals Fund, said in a telephone interview today. “The markets can sometimes tease you.”

Gold futures for June delivery slid 1.5 percent to $1,654.70 at 1:49 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Gold on the Comex peaked at a record $1,923.70 an ounce on Sept. 6.

Oliver, who’s been letting his hair grow out for about two years, said he still expects gold will reach $2,000 and that there’s a “very strong chance” it will get there this year.

“I’m not going to make any new bets yet,” he said.

Gold prices will rise as countries increase money supplies, he said. Investor demand for gold has surged as the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy spurred declines in the dollar, boosting the appeal of precious metals as an alternative asset. Gold surged 70 percent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the central bank set interest rates at a record low and bought $2.3 trillion of debt in two rounds of quantitative easing.

“Governments are going to continue to run large deficits and to fund it they are going to print,” he said. “That’s great for gold.”

Oliver is also running a charity event associated with the bet, he said. He’s pledged C$100,000 and is hoping to raise more than C$1 million, he said.

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