Gold Backing to Debt Ratio: A Reset Like in 1934 and 1980 Would Mean \$28,000 Gold

In this article you’ll learn about the gold backing to debt ratio. Along with what the gold price would need to be at today to match two previous periods of debt reset…

How do you determine gold’s value? Or put another way what price should gold be at? In our view this is the wrong way round and the question should be how many ounces of gold should a given currency be valued at?

However, in the world we live in, it is more common to think of a dollar price of gold, than an ounce weight in gold of the dollar.

An excellent video, care of Youtube channel maneco64, looks at valuing gold in terms of US debt. He looks back to the previous two episodes where there was a currency “reset” in 1934 and 1980. Then arrives at a gold backing to debt ratio for each of those two periods.

He uses the US national debt during these times. Then he takes the US gold reserves and the current gold price to give a total value of gold reserves. Then the gold reserves are divided into the total debt to give a gold backing to debt ratio.

The formula is therefore US Debt / (US Gold Reserves x Gold Price).

Gold Backing to US Debt Ratio “Reset” in 1934

What was the gold backing to US debt in 1934?

US Gold reserves in 1934 were 202.5 million ounces.

Via maneco64

While US national debt was at \$27 billion in 1934.

Via maneco64

The price of gold in 1934 had just been reset to \$35 per ounce. So this came to \$7 billion worth of gold (202.5 million ounces x \$35).

So in 1934 the value of the US gold was therefore 26% of the national debt (\$7 billion / \$27 billion).

Gold Backing to US Debt Ratio “Reset” in 1980

What was the percentage gold backing to US debt in 1980?

US National debt in 1980 was \$877 billion.

Via maneco64

While the price of gold spiked to \$887.50 per ounce.

Via maneco64

US gold reserves were pretty similar to today at 261.5 million ounces.

Via maneco64

So in 1980 US gold holdings therefore amounted to 26.4% of US National debt. Remarkably similar to the percentage in 1934!  (261.5 million ounces x \$887.50 = \$232 billion / \$877 billion = 26.4%)

What Price Would Gold Need to Have Reached in 2020 to Match the 26% Gold Backing to Debt Ratio in 1934 and 1980?

In 2018 when this video was created, US National debt was \$27,143 billion (i.e. \$21.1 trillion).

Via maneco64

When we last updated this article in May 2020, US National debt was then \$24,947 billion (i.e. \$24.9 trillion).

US Gold reserves were still reported to be 261.15 million ounces.

Via maneco64

So in 2020 to achieve a 26% gold backing of the US debt, required a book value of US gold reserves of just under \$6.5 trillion.

In May 2020 the book value was \$445 billion using the market gold price of \$1706. So to reach a 26% gold backing, the price of gold needed to increase 14.61 times. This came to a gold price of \$24,925 per troy ounce.

[Note: this is a hefty increase from the \$21,022 value that the author of the video arrived at back in 2018.]

What Price Would Gold Need to Be Today to Match the 26% Gold Backing to Debt Ratio in 1934 and 1980?

Now we have jumped forward only 11 months from May 2020. But as a result of the COVID-19 stimulus measures, US national debt has surged to a massive \$28,140 billion (i.e. \$28.1 trillion). An almost 13% increase in debt in less than a year!

So how has this jump in debt affected the gold price required to achieve a 26% gold backing?

US Gold reserves are still reported to be 261.15 million ounces.

So today in 2021 to achieve a 26% gold backing of the US debt requires a book value of US gold reserves of just over \$7.3 trillion. (i.e. 26% x \$28.1 trillion).

Today the book value of the US gold reserves is \$455 billion – using today’s gold price of \$1744.

Therefore to reach a 26% gold backing, the price of gold would need to increase 16.04 times. (\$7.3 trillion or \$7,300 billion divided by \$455 billion = 16.04). That is a gold price of \$27,974 per troy ounce.

Conclusion: To match the 1934 and 1980 “reset” prices and back US debt at 26%, gold would need to be priced at just under US\$28,000 per troy ounce!

So from \$21,000 in 2018, to \$25,000 in 2020 and now to \$28,000 in 2021! We can see how the ballooning debt levels are having on impact on the projected gold price.

The video creator rightly points out that there is no guarantee such a reset will happen. But nevertheless this does show how undervalued gold is today.

Interestingly this is a very similar number to that reached in this earlier article which calculated the level the gold price would need to reach to 100% back the total assets of the Federal Reserve balance sheet: How Do You Value Gold | What Price Could Gold Reach? Updated 2020

Here is the full video…

Video: A Reset Like in 1934 and 1980 Would Mean \$21,000 Gold

You might also be interested in: When to Buy Gold or Silver: The Ultimate Guide

Editors note: This article was originally posted 26 April 2018. Last updated 11 May 2020 with new debt figures and resulting gold price projection.

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9 thoughts on “Gold Backing to Debt Ratio: A Reset Like in 1934 and 1980 Would Mean \$28,000 Gold”

1. maurice says:

I presume all this is in US dollars which looks like about NZ\$ 28,000. Perhaps I should buy some more, even if our Reserve Bank are not interested.

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