I've been doing a fair bit of reading on this, as I'd heard talk of gold becoming a tier 1 asset with Basel III. It seems, based on everything that I'm reading, that it's not just 'proposed' but actually will be happening. As of Jan 1, 2013, gold becomes a tier 1 asset. That means banks and financial institutions get to value it at 100% on their books, and some of the reading I've done says it also means there's some minimum ownership requirement as well.
This strikes me as being about as loud-and-clear a 'fundamental' buy signal for gold (especially physical, 'hold-it-in-your hands and lock it in your private safe' gold) as there will ever be. At a minimum it will increase the impetus for FIs to buy and HOLD paper gold, because they can get so much more leverage out of it as an underlying asset. But even bigger open question is 'what if the holding requirement is for actual physical gold rather than just paper'? IE what if somebody eventually figures out that as an asset, it's only the physical metal that's actually a tier 1 asset (since paper supply is infinite)? Since there's only about 6 billion oz total available in the world (although about 100x that many claims on it, based on paper and unallocated accts) once the accounting for the real physical metal kicks off, things could get really interesting in a big hurry.
With that in mind, the recent action in the price of gold seems to me to be probably really unpleasant for leveraged paper gold holders, but an absolute gift for anybody smart enough to swap some paper savings from $ to metal.
And finally, once the POG finally kicks up again, MAYBE, the miners will finally get at least some interest, and MAYBE someday, somebody will want to invest in VTR and take a flyer on several acres of west African desert property.