Soros, Eton Park raised gold ETF holdings before price drop

Eton Park

Mindich’s Eton Park bought 739,117 shares in the SPDR Gold Trust during the first quarter. The New York-based fund held no shares of the exchange-traded product as of Dec. 31. Gasthalter, also a spokesman for Eton Park, declined to comment.

Paulson, 56, who became a billionaire in 2007 by betting against the U.S. subprime mortgage market, told clients in February that gold is his best long-term bet, serving as protection against currency debasement, rising inflation and a possible breakup of the euro.

Armel Leslie, a Paulson spokesman, didn’t respond to a voicemail for comment, and neither did Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros.

Prices rallied for 11 consecutive years to 2011, gaining more than sevenfold, as investors snapped up the metal after government and central bank stimulus programs boosted speculation that inflation would accelerate.

Central Banks

Last year, central banks added 439.7 tons, the most in almost five decades. They may buy a similar amount this year, the London-based World Gold Council estimates. Global holdings in ETPs at 2,379.4 tons, are still within 1.3 percent of the March 13 record, according to Bloomberg data.

“Because of all the economic problems there will be more easing around the world and that will stoke inflation and people will flock back to gold,” Paul Dietrich, chief executive officer of Foxhall Capital Management Inc., said in a telephone interview from Alexandria, Virginia. “I would not be surprised if gold starts racing and touches its peak either at the end of this year, or maybe in 2013.”

Money managers who oversee more than $100 million in equities must file a Form 13F with the SEC within 45 days of each quarter’s end to show their U.S.-listed stocks, options and convertible bonds. The filings don’t show non-U.S. securities or how much cash the firms hold.

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