Profit taking in precious metals but contrarian inflows into cocoa and oil


Profit taking on precious metals after last week’s strong rally

Profit taking in precious metals. With gold almost reaching our target price for the year (US$1,300/oz by mid-year), we saw outflows of US$-30 mn from gold ETPs. The escalation of tensions in Syria, North Korea as well as uncertainty of the outcome of the French elections have driven inflows in previous weeks. Year-to-date, we have seen more than US$600mn into our gold ETPs, with almost US$80mn in the last month. Gold prices could continue to see support as the market probability for further Federal Reserve (Fed) action in June has fallen below 50% and inflation expectations / bond yields continue to fall.

USD shorts are building. Following recent disappointment in both US soft data (such as manufacturing PMIs) and hard data (CPI inflation), as well as the lack of any forecast upgrades from the latest Fed meeting, we have seen inflows into short USD ETPs of US$16mn over the last one month.

Crude ETPs receive inflows as oil prices fell on disappointing US inventory data. U.S. oil prices fell nearly -4% last Wednesday to US$50.28 per barrel as US inventories declined less than expected. On the back of this we saw US$14mn inflows into crude oil ETPs. We continue to see oil range bound: expectations that OPEC could announce another production cut at their 25th May meeting could provide support, however, the continued backlog of crude in the US is likely to exert downward pressure.

Continued selling of European equities and buying of EUR. Similar to last week’s flows, we saw buying of long EUR ETPs (US$ 5mn) despite the French elections over the weekend. In the equity space, we also saw buying of FTSE100 ETPs (US$ 5 inflows) as UK equities corrected last week following the announcement of a snap General election in June.

8th straight week of inflows into cocoa ETPs: US$60mn inflows YTD Cocoa hit a fresh 4-year low in both London and New York last week. The rise in the UK currency on the general election announcement last week contributed to the selling as cocoa traded in London is priced in sterling. Worries about supplies in the Ivory Coast, the leading producer, also weighed on prices. Cocoa’s 42 percent slump over the last 12 months makes it one of the worst performing commodities this year, however, investor sentiment may be getting less bearish as speculative net short positions on CFTC exchange have fallen.

James Butterfill – Head of Research and Investment Strategy – ETF Securities