– Irish Finance Minister Dumps Stocks – Buys Gold (ZeroHedge, March 16, 2015):
– Ireland’s Minister of Finance shifted personal wealth out of stocks and into gold
– Minister invested in SPDR Gold Shares ETF, Portuguese government bonds and other ETFs
– Maintained holdings in bank and agricultural commodities ETFs
– Gold ETF not a safe haven asset – much unappreciated counterparty risk
The Minister for Finance in Ireland, Michael Noonan, sold his shares in funds that track European and US stocks and diversified his portfolio including allocating some of his personal wealth into a gold exchange traded fund (ETF) in 2014.
Noonan sold out of his positions in the Lyxor Eurostoxx 50 ETF and SPDR DJIA ETF in 2014 and opted to invest in the SPDR gold shares ETF and Portuguese government bonds. He maintained his holdings in SPDR KBW Banks ETF, Ishares FTSE 100 ETF, Market Vectors Agri Business ETF, ETFS Agricultural Commodities ETF.
The information was published last week in the Register of Members Interests, in which members of Oireachtas – the Irish Parliament – must declare financial interests valued at over €13,000.
The changes to the Minister’s portfolio were highlighted by Ireland’s Sunday Independent yesterday, who described Noonan as “bearish” and interpreted the move as a “hedge against euro deflation”.
The piece acknowledged that gold is a safe haven – the “traditional hedge against tough times” and that “gold is an asset that has outperformed in times of both inflation and deflation.”
Noonan is believed to be quite a shrewed investor. The Sunday Independent reported that
“Noonan’s personal investments give an insight into his thinking and his views on the risk and opportunities facing the global and European economies and markets. He has a track record stretching back decades of canny private investments.”
The news is of interest given Noonan’s status within the Eurogroup of Finance Ministers, the Council of the European Union and the Ecofin. The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin), is composed of the Economics and Finance Ministers of the Member States, generally meets once a month under the chair of the rotating EU Presidency.