Average Return on Gold in Last 10 Years + 2024 Preview

Written By Colin Kuehn  |  Gold 

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Last Updated: December 20, 2023

Gold, a symbol of wealth and stability, has been a sought-after asset for centuries.

In the realm of investment, understanding the performance of gold, especially in the last decade, is crucial for both seasoned and novice investors.

This analysis delves into the average return on gold over the past 10 years, offering insights into its role in a diversified investment portfolio.

Annual Return on Gold Investment Over the Last Decade

graphing gold annual return last decade

Historical Performance of Gold

The past decade has seen significant fluctuations in the gold market, reflecting various economic and geopolitical events. To comprehend gold’s performance, let’s explore key highlights:

  • Average Returns: Over the last 10 years, gold has experienced varying returns, with an average annualized return of around 8.87%, as noted by Goldodex.com. This performance is comparable to equities and higher than bonds and commodities.
  • Gold vs. Inflation: A crucial aspect of gold’s value is its performance against inflation. The 5yearcharts.com shows that gold’s price changes are more meaningful when compared to metrics like the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Gold has historically been a hedge against inflation, maintaining its purchasing power over time.
  • Comparison with Other Commodities: Gold’s performance over the past decade also stands out when compared to other commodities. Its stability and growth have been relatively more consistent, making it a preferred choice for risk-averse investors.

a gold kit with a green button

Gold Outlook for 2024: Key Factors and Predictions

As 2024 approaches, various global factors are poised to influence the gold market. Here’s an in-depth look at what might shape the outlook for gold in this year:

Economic Forecasts

  • Global Economic Recovery: The pace of global economic recovery post-pandemic will be a critical factor. A robust recovery could lead to reduced demand for safe-haven assets like gold, while any economic setbacks might increase gold’s appeal.
  • Interest Rate Trends: Central banks’ monetary policies, particularly interest rate decisions, will significantly impact gold prices. If interest rates rise, gold may face headwinds as investors seek yield-bearing assets.

Geopolitical Scenarios

  • Political Stability: The state of geopolitical stability, especially in key economies and regions, will influence gold prices. Tensions or conflicts can drive up gold prices, while stability may lead to a decrease in demand.
  • Trade Policies: International trade policies and relations, including any ongoing disputes or new agreements, can affect global economic confidence and, consequently, the gold market.

Technological Advancements

  • Green Technology: Advances in green technologies, which often use gold for its conductive properties, could lead to increased industrial demand.
  • Mining Innovations: Technological advancements in gold mining and processing could affect the supply side, potentially making extraction more efficient and cost-effective.

Investor Sentiment

  • Market Volatility: Investors’ reactions to stock market volatility can impact gold prices. In times of high volatility, gold is often seen as a safe investment.
  • Inflation Expectations: If investors expect higher inflation, they may turn to gold as a hedge, driving up its price.

Currency Fluctuations

  • US Dollar Strength: The strength of the US dollar will continue to be a key factor, as gold is typically inversely correlated with the dollar. A weaker dollar could make gold more attractive to international buyers.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Factors

  • Sustainable Investing: Growing interest in sustainable and responsible investing could influence gold mining practices and investor preferences regarding gold.

Central Bank Activities

  • Gold Reserves: Central banks’ decisions to buy or sell gold can significantly impact the market. An increase in gold reserves by central banks can signal confidence in gold and potentially increase its price.

In summary, the outlook for gold in 2024 will likely be shaped by a combination of economic, geopolitical, technological, and market-driven factors. While precise predictions are challenging, understanding these dynamics can help investors make informed decisions about incorporating gold into their investment strategies. As always, it’s essential to consider gold within the context of a diversified portfolio and personal investment goals.

Factors Influencing Gold Prices

Several factors influence the price of gold, making it a dynamic investment option. Understanding these factors is key to analyzing gold’s performance:

Economic Factors

  • Interest Rates: Gold is particularly sensitive to changes in interest rates. Generally, lower interest rates make gold more attractive as it doesn’t yield any interest. Conversely, higher interest rates can diminish gold’s allure as other investments offering yields become more attractive.
  • Currency Fluctuations: The value of the US dollar plays a crucial role. As gold is primarily priced in dollars, a weaker dollar makes gold cheaper for investors holding other currencies, potentially increasing demand.

Political and Global Events

  • Geopolitical Uncertainty: Political instability, wars, and geopolitical tensions often lead investors to seek safe-haven assets like gold. In times of uncertainty, gold is perceived as a stable store of value.
  • Economic Policies: Decisions by central banks and governments, such as quantitative easing or fiscal stimulus, can affect gold prices. Expansionary monetary policies, for instance, often result in higher gold prices.

Supply and Demand Dynamics

  • Mining Supply: The cost of mining and the ability to mine new gold can affect supply. Higher mining costs or difficulties in extraction can reduce the supply, leading to higher prices.
  • Technological and Industrial Demand: Gold is used in various industries, particularly in electronics due to its conductive properties. An increase in demand from these sectors can drive up prices.

Market Sentiment

  • Investor Behavior: The collective actions of investors, influenced by market trends, economic outlooks, and investment strategies, play a significant role in gold pricing.
  • Speculation: Speculative activities in the gold market, often based on expectations of future price movements, can lead to price volatility.

Macro-economic Factors

  • Inflation and Deflation: In times of high inflation, gold is often seen as a hedge against the eroding value of fiat currencies. Conversely, during deflationary periods, gold’s value as a non-yielding asset can be appealing.
  • Global Economic Health: The overall health of the global economy can influence gold prices. In economic downturns, gold prices may rise due to its status as a safe-haven asset, whereas in robust economic times, gold might see reduced demand.
  • ETFs and Gold Funds: The advent of gold-backed Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) and mutual funds has made gold investment more accessible, impacting its demand and price.
  • Central Bank Reserves: Central banks hold significant gold reserves. Their buying or selling activities can have a substantial impact on gold prices.

Understanding these factors is crucial for investors, market analysts, and anyone interested in the dynamics of the gold market. Each factor can have varying degrees of influence over different time periods, contributing to the complexity and allure of gold as an investment asset.

Gold vs Other Investment Options

gold vs other investments

In the landscape of investment strategies, understanding how gold stacks up against other options is crucial. Here’s a comparative analysis:

  • Stocks and Equities: Over the past decade, the S&P 500 presented an annualized return of 13.8%, outperforming gold’s 8.87% average return as reported by Goldodex.com. Stocks offer higher returns but come with greater volatility.
  • Bonds: Benchmark Treasury bonds showed an annualized yield of 3.6% over the past decade. Gold’s performance was slightly inferior in terms of yield but provided a hedge against inflation and market volatility.
  • Real Estate: The real estate market, while offering tangible assets, involves higher entry costs and less liquidity compared to gold. The returns vary greatly depending on location and market conditions.
  • Pros and Cons:
    • Pros of Investing in Gold:
      • Inflation Hedge: Gold maintains value over time, acting as a safeguard against inflation.
      • Diversification: Adds variety to an investment portfolio, potentially reducing risk.
    • Cons of Investing in Gold:
      • No Passive Income: Unlike stocks (dividends) and real estate (rent), gold does not generate passive income.
      • Storage Costs: Physical gold requires secure storage, which can incur costs.

Gold as a Part of Investment Portfolio

Diversification Benefits

  • Non-Correlation with Other Assets: Gold often has a low to negative correlation with traditional asset classes like stocks and bonds. This means that when stocks or bonds are underperforming, gold prices may not be affected in the same way, or they may even increase.
  • Portfolio Balance: The inclusion of gold can balance the risk in a portfolio, especially during market downturns or periods of high volatility.

Risk Management

  • Hedge Against Inflation and Currency Devaluation: Gold is renowned for its ability to maintain purchasing power over time. In periods of high inflation or when currencies are losing value, gold prices often increase, protecting the real value of an investor’s portfolio.
  • Safe-Haven Asset: In times of geopolitical tension or economic uncertainty, investors tend to flock to gold as a safe haven. This quality makes it an effective tool for managing systemic risk.

Allocation Strategies

  • Moderate Allocation: Financial experts often recommend a moderate allocation to gold, typically between 5% to 15% of an investment portfolio. This percentage can vary depending on an individual’s risk tolerance and investment horizon.
  • Dynamic Allocation: Some investors adjust their gold holdings based on current market conditions and future economic forecasts, increasing their gold allocation in uncertain times and reducing it during stable periods.

Performance Considerations

  • Long-Term Performance: Historically, gold has provided long-term preservation of capital. It’s not typically known for delivering high returns like stocks but rather for maintaining value over time.
  • No Yield or Dividend: Unlike stocks or bonds, gold does not provide an income stream like dividends or interest payments. Its value lies in capital appreciation.

Investment Forms

  • Physical Gold: Investing in physical gold, like coins or bars, is the most direct form of gold investment. However, it involves storage and insurance costs.
  • Gold ETFs and Mutual Funds: These offer a more convenient way to invest in gold without the hassles of physical storage. They track the price of gold and are traded on stock exchanges.
  • Mining Stocks and Mutual Funds: Investing in companies that mine or deal in gold is another way to gain exposure to gold prices. These investments, however, are influenced by company-specific factors in addition to the price of gold.

Role in Different Investment Strategies

  • Conservative Portfolios: For risk-averse investors, gold can provide stability and wealth preservation.
  • Aggressive Portfolios: In more aggressive portfolios, gold can act as a hedge against the risk inherent in high-growth assets.

In summary, gold can play a vital role in a diversified investment portfolio. Its unique attributes, such as acting as a hedge against inflation and providing stability during economic uncertainty, make it a valuable component for many investors. The key is to understand one’s investment goals and risk tolerance and to use gold as part of a broader, well-thought-out investment strategy.

Future Prospects of Gold Investment

Looking ahead, the future of gold investment holds both potential rewards and risks:

  • Continued Role as a Safe Haven: Gold is expected to retain its status as a safe-haven asset, especially in times of geopolitical instability, economic downturns, and financial market volatility.
  • Impact of Global Economic Policies: The future monetary policies of major economies, particularly those involving interest rates and quantitative easing, will likely have significant implications for gold prices.

Technological and Industrial Advances

  • Increasing Industrial Demand: Advances in technology could lead to increased demand for gold in various industries, especially in electronics and healthcare, where gold’s unique properties are valuable.
  • Innovation in Gold Extraction and Processing: Technological improvements in mining and processing could affect the supply side, potentially making gold extraction more efficient and environmentally friendly.
  • Growth of Digital Gold Investments: The rise of digital platforms for gold trading and investment, including digital gold and blockchain-based solutions, could make gold investment more accessible and transparent.
  • Evolution of Gold-Backed Financial Products: The development of new gold-backed investment products, such as ETFs and derivatives, can provide more diverse ways for investors to gain exposure to gold.

Geopolitical and Economic Factors

  • Geopolitical Tensions: Ongoing and future geopolitical conflicts can increase demand for gold as a safe haven.
  • Economic Cycles: During periods of economic uncertainty or recession, gold is often sought after as a hedge against risk, potentially boosting its price.

Regulatory and Environmental Considerations

  • Environmental Regulations: Stricter environmental regulations in mining could affect gold supply, influencing prices.
  • Central Bank Policies: The buying and selling activities of central banks, which hold large amounts of gold reserves, can significantly impact the gold market.

Inflation and Currency Fluctuations

  • Inflation Hedge: Gold is traditionally seen as a hedge against inflation, and if inflation rates rise globally, this could increase gold’s attractiveness.
  • Currency Devaluation Risks: In scenarios where major currencies face devaluation, gold’s role as a store of value could become more prominent.

Investor Behavior and Sentiment

  • Perception as a Diversification Tool: The perception of gold as a diversification tool in investment portfolios is likely to persist, supporting its demand.
  • Investor Sentiment in Market Cycles: Investor sentiment during different market cycles can influence gold’s appeal, with increased interest during bear markets and reduced interest during bull markets.

In conclusion, the future prospects of gold investment appear diverse and multifaceted. While the exact trajectory of gold prices is uncertain and subject to various global factors, gold is likely to maintain its fundamental characteristics as a safe-haven asset, a hedge against inflation, and a key component in diversified investment strategies. Investors considering gold should stay informed about these dynamics and tailor their gold investments to align with their broader financial goals and risk tolerance.


In summarizing, the average return on gold over the past decade highlights its potential as a stable investment.

While it may not always outperform other assets like stocks or real estate, its unique properties, such as providing a hedge against inflation and market volatility, make it a valuable addition to a diversified investment portfolio.

a gold kit with a green button

Frequently Asked Questions

Addressing common queries provides additional clarity to investors:

  • What has been the average annual return of gold in the last 10 years?
    • Gold has seen an average annualized return of around 8.87% over the past decade.
  • Is gold a good hedge against inflation?
    • Yes, historically, gold has been an effective hedge against inflation, maintaining its purchasing power.
  • How does gold perform during economic downturns?
    • Gold often performs well during economic downturns, acting as a safe-haven asset.
  • What percentage of my portfolio should be in gold?
    • Experts typically recommend a moderate allocation, ranging from 5% to 15%.