Gold’s haven status reinstated?


Gold posted a third consecutive week of gains and gold ETPs finally broke a 10-week streak of outflows. Uncertainty around China’s currency policy, volatile equity markets and the realization that a September Fed hike is not a done deal drove the price higher

Gold ETPs see highest inflows since January. Physical gold ETPs received US$230.6mn of inflows last week, as rising prices has lifted the negative sentiment against the metal. Futures market shorts have also been trimmed for the fourth consecutive week. While a confluence of factors has driven gold prices higher, a standout observation was that the VIX index rose 87% last week, signaling a market shift from greed to fear. Gold has traditionally been the first port of call in times of market stress.

Eight consecutive weeks of oil ETPs inflows follow sharp price declines. Bargain hunting continued last week with US$71.8mn of inflows into long oil ETPs. Brent fell 5.3% and WTI declined 2.6%, as the global production surplus accelerates. WTI had fallen to a 6 ½ year low. ETP investors realize that such low prices will drive a reduction in capex and eventual fall in production, but for now crude inventories in the US are still rising, depressing the price. US oil rigs also continue to reopen, adding to supply. ETP investors will need to be patient and bear with the lag in the response from producers.

ETFS Daily Leveraged Natural Gas (LNGA) received highest inflows in 11 weeks. Natural gas inventories rose less than expected (53Bcf vs. 59% Bcf expected), driving a temporary rally last Wednesday and Thursday. The current period of seasonally high demand from the power sector’s air conditioning needs will likely come to an end in autumn and could place downward pressure on price. LNGA received US$4.3mn last week.

Investors trimmed long coffee ETP exposure by US$4.3mn. With the Brazilian harvest coming close to an end, the realisation that last year’s drought has led to smaller bean sizes this year has driven up prices in recent weeks. However, a benign winter has minimised frost-damage and so what the harvest lacks in quality will be made up for in quantity, which has driven prices lower over the past week. Coffee suffers from a weak Brazilian Real, which has encouraged Brazilian farmers to offload stocks cheaply. Sugar conversely rose 1.2% last week, as concerns around poor monsoon rains in India could lead the market into balance for the first time in six years. Long sugar ETPs attracted US$1mn of inflows.

ETFS Palladium Trust (PALL) saw US$12.0mn of redemptions, the highest since September 2014. With Chinese auto demand remaining soft, prospects for global autocatalyst demand, which accounts for 70% of palladium use, remains poor. However, tightening emissions regulation in Europe in September could see the loadings of platinum group metals rise.

Key events to watch this week. Central bankers will convene at Jackson Hole, Wyoming at a pivotal juncture in the Fed’s rate cycle. Consensus expectations are for a September hike, but speeches and presentations by policy makers could sway opinions.

Nitesh Shah – Research – ETF Securities