January 6 is my birthday. It’s also the twelfth day of Christmas and Epiphany, the Christian holiday that marks the three kings bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus in Bethlehem.
With so many ETFs on the market, why not a “GFM” fund that tracks gold, frankincense and myrrh?
Fast forward two thousand years, and the wise men would be hard-pressed to get their hands on any of these three commodities.
According to a report, Boswellia trees that produce frankincense, a key component in many incense and perfumes, are dying off and production of the resin may be halved over the next 15 years. Ecologists predict that the number of trees may drop 90% in the next 50 years due to fire, grazing and insects.
“Current management of Boswellia populations is clearly unsustainable,” Dr. Frans Bongers of Wageningen University said in the report. “Our models show that within 50 years populations of Boswellia will be decimated, and the declining populations mean frankincense production is doomed. This is a rather alarming message for the incense industry and conservation organizations.”
According to the International Centre for Research in Dry Areas, solid frankincense resin costs around $58 per kilo and myrrh, another fragrant resin, is about twice as expensive, reports Charlie Cooper for The Independent. Myrrh is suffering from the effects of long-term drought, as well. Gold, meanwhile, has cooled somewhat after spiking to a new record earlier this year, but remains above $1,600 an ounce.