ETP Weekly : Commodity ETPs see Fifth Consecutive Week of Inflows, says ETF Securities

Commodity ETPs saw a fifth consecutive week of inflows, with investors taking advantage of price dips in industrial metals to build long positions. With the situation in the Ukraine showing few signs of stabilising and economic data…

ETF Securities Research

from China coming in softer-than-expected, gold and silver prices rose as both metals lived up to their reputation as portfolio diversifiers and insurance assets. Investors tilted their portfolios in favour of silver, likely because of expected leveraged moves relative to the gold price.
ETFS Physical Silver (PHAG) sees $38mn of inflows, the second highest in five months.  The strong inflows last week follow on the US$132mn three weeks ago. Investors are increasingly allocating to silver as it has traditionally outperformed gold when both are rising. So far this year gold has returned 13.6% while silver has returned 8.9%, highlighting the potential for silver to catch up. Long gold ETPs saw US$67mn of outflows as some investors chose to take profits on recent price gains.
Long copper ETPs see US$19mn of inflows, the highest in 10 weeks as an 8.9% price drop was viewed as buying opportunity. The main trigger for the price slump was a corporate bond default that raised concerns about a possible unwinding of copper collateralised financing deals that some feared would release copper stockpiles into the market.
Weaker than expected China export and growth numbers and a fall in the Chinese Renminbi added to the negative sentiment. Investors appear to looking beyond the near-term turbulence, which has been driven by the government’s efforts to introduce healthy two-way risk into the market. China’s copper demand in fact remains robust. Imports for January and February are up over 40% on a year earlier, with January imports reaching record levels. Demand generally picks up after the end of Q1, and we expect a similar pattern will be followed this year. Although a number of investors expect prices to continue to fall (there were US$5.7mn of inflows into ETFS Daily Short Copper (SCOP) last week as well) more investors appear to see price upside.
ETFS Aluminium (ALUM) sees largest inflows since August 2013. As the Aluminium price fell 3% last week, flows into ETFS aluminium ETPs rose US$9mn. Investors appear to be looking beyond the lower-than-expected export and production data in China and are focusing on the ore export ban in Indonesia which could crimp China’s production of aluminium given that its smelting facilities are dependent on the low temperature (trihydrate) bauxite which is difficult to get from other sources. Possible Russia export sanctions are also playing a role as Russia is the world’s second largest supplier of the metal.
ETFS Daily Leveraged Natural Gas (LNGA) saw US$6.2mn of inflows as a 6.0% fall in price attracted buyers. However, we continue to believe that demand for gas in spring will be lower and ease the pressure on supplies leading to further price declines. Profit-taking drives US$15.2mn out of long platinum ETPs. The outflows were the largest since September 2013 despite the South Africa mine strike entering its eighth week. So far the three main producers have lost 499,000 ounces of production according to Bloomberg calculations and the figure is closely approaching the 496,359 ounces of lost output from the 2012. While the rally took a pause last week, it has the potential to continue further as stocks deplete.
Key events to watch this week.  Next week’s FOMC meeting will be the first chaired by Yellen and the market will be attentive to any change in policy signals. Should EU car registration data continue to rise as it has in the past five months, we could have catalyst to platinum group prices which have simply treaded water last week.




Although gold often gains during extreme events, the start of the first US Federal shutdown in seventeen years last week failed to lift the gold price. Investors appear to be looking through the storm and are focused on assets that will either benefit from the continuation of the global growth recovery or are generally uncorrelated with debt risk.  Cotton and sugar gained 2.3% and 1.8% last week, bouncing from lows hit in September, but without strong news driving the trend. Platinum and palladium fell 3.6% and 2.5% respectively. That comes despite a 17% rise in Japanese auto sales (to a 14-month high) and a 12.1% rise in UK car sales (to a five-year high). US car sales also remained brisk, despite the timing of Labor Day distorting the monthly statistics. Autocatalyts are the primary source of demand for the platinum group metals (PGMs). The strike that started two weeks ago was still on-going last week at Amplats, constraining the supply of PGMs.

    MA Weekly 07.10.13 1


US equities remain under pressure as the negotiations over raising the US debt ceiling continue. The S&P 500 fell for the second consecutive week as Republicans and Democrats continued to fight over the budget and debt ceiling. European equities have also been sensitive to the political turmoil in the US. The Euro Stoxx 50® Investable Volatility Index, which provides exposure to the forward implied volatility of the Euro Stoxx 50® Index, surged 5% last week, followed by the FTSE® MIB Super Short Strategy Index and the ShortDAX® x2 Index, up 3.5% and 1.4% respectively. Global equities are likely to remain volatile and under pressure as we get closer to the estimated 17 October hard deadline for lifting the debt ceilding.

MA Weekly 07.10.13 2


Safe haven currencies benefit as US fiscal negotiations drag on. The Japanese Yen (JPY) was the best performing G10 currency last week as investors sold risky assets and paid back JPY loans on growing concern about the lack of progress on US fiscal and debt negotiations.  For similar reasons the Swiss Franc (CHF) and even the Euro (EUR) also rallied against the US dollar last week. The British Pound (GBP) held up, continuing the trend of the past three months. However, towards the end of the week the currency showed some weakness, indicating the rally may be peaking. In our view, the GBP is one of the more overvalued G10 currencies and – despite recent rhetoric – has one of the more dovish central banks. We therefore believe the currency is particularly vulnerable to a sharp drop once growth data stop surprising to the upside.

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