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Here’s One Possible Answer to the Puzzle of the Mystery Gold Buyer

We might know who, but necessarily why.

Two hundred and fifty gram gold bars arranged at Gold Investments Ltd. bullion dealers in London, U.K.

Two hundred and fifty gram gold bars arranged at Gold Investments Ltd. bullion dealers in London, U.K.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Gold prices are on a tear lately, having rallied by over $200 per ounce since early November.

The rise has puzzled analysts, who note that there aren’t any obvious macro narratives to drive gold’s move. Have inflation fears picked up over the last two months? No, and if anything it’s the opposite case. Movement in gold is often associated with geopolitics. Yet nothing particularly novel has happened on that front of late.

And in recent history, there’s been a decent inverse relationship between the price of gold and real rates as measured by the TIPs market, but that link has broken down as well lately.