Last week, gold prices retraced back to support at their 50-day and 200-day moving averages. The metal closed the week at $1,797.40 per ounce. On Friday, the U.S. government reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by 199,000 in December, far fewer than the estimated 422,000. The report reflects the period before the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID through the U.S. in the last couple of weeks. The surge has caused shortages in supply chains and labor. Critical structures such as hospitals (which are facing a shortage of health care workers) and airlines (which are canceling thousands of flights daily) are being hit. These disruptions are severe enough to the economy that Congressional leaders are now considering instituting another short-term financial stimulus by March—despite the recognition that the $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed last spring helped catalyze the current inflation surge. Stoking inflation while the economy is still reeling from the ongoing effects of the pandemic could produce the conditions for a classic stagflation quagmire. Gold may offer investors a way to preserve value in such an intractable economic environment. Rick Andrews is president of Avant Capital Management.