If you are interested in the past performance of gold bullion in Canadian dollars, you can find annual returns going back to 1970s in this spreadsheet on the Libra Investment Management website. The period between 1971 and 1980 was the golden decade — gold gained a total of 1759% in that time period or an astonishing 34% annualized rate. Since 1980, gold has gained just 50% in 29 years or a 1.5% annual rate. Most of that growth has been in the past decade in which gold has gained 140% or an annualized 9.14%. Year-to-date gold is up 16.75% in Canadian dollars.
Some investors allocate a small portion of their portfolio to gold for diversification due to gold’s poor correlation with other asset classes. The data bears this out. The correlation between TSX Composite and gold bullion for the 1970-2008 time period is just 0.08. However, gold’s risk-reward profile leaves much to be desired. Since 1970 gold has returned 9% annually with a standard deviation of 29. By way of comparison, the TSX Composite has returned 9% with a SD of 17.
PS: The returns and standard deviation for gold were computed with the Upside / Downside Calculator available on the Stingy Investor website.