ETP Weekly: Dovish Minutes Increase the Appeal of Bullion

Investors increased precious metal exposure last week as Greek debt negotiations and US monetary policy minutes prompted some investor caution. Despite the agreement to extend the Greek bailout last Friday, some details remain unknown…

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ETF Securities Research

Lack of clarity over the conditions could give cause for investors to remain cautious. Fed Chair Yellen’s testimony to congress will be watched closely this week for any further hints as to the pace of policy normalisation and could therefore be a key influence on the gold price. Crude inflows continued to be strong following a sustained fall in oil rigs, however with US oil stocks building to a record level, gains may be limited.

Uncertainty boosts safe haven demand for bullion. Long physical gold ETPs witnessed US$136.9mn of inflows despite a decline in the price of the underlying. Demand for gold exposure appeared to be stimulated by dovish minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes as officials displayed concerns that a premature rate hike could harm the US labour market recovery in the context of weakness in international markets. Additionally, uncertainty in Europe surrounding the outcome of Greek debt negotiations has helped to buoy gold ETP demand.

Third consecutive week of inflows for long silver ETPs. US$5.8mn flowed into long silver ETPs this week as investors see silver as a means of gaining leveraged exposure to gold. Silver’s correlation to gold remains elevated and it therefore has benefited from ambiguity surrounding the pace of policy normalisation in the US and potential economic impact of a Greek exit from the Eurozone.

Largest cumulative rig count drop for twenty years drives inflows into crude. Long WTI ETPs attracted US$57.6mn of inflows as the Baker Hughes oil rig count fell for the 11th consecutive week representing a 31% decline. This fall has been composed primarily of horizontal oil rigs, leading investors to believe that tightening supply fundamentals as shale producers curtail output, will boost the US crude benchmark. However, this week oil prices have been volatile as prices oscillated intra week, as bearish US crude inventory data contrasted with bullish sentiment.

ETFS Daily Short Natural Gas (SNGA) receives US$9.6mn, the largest inflow since 2011. The natural gas price rallied during the week as heating demand was lifted by colder than average weather in the gas hungry Northeast. Speculation that a bearish inventory report would prompt a turnaround encouraged inflows into SNGA. While natural gas prices have fallen considerably over the last three months as mild temperatures in the US in December and strong shale gas output has left the market well supplied, recent extremely cold weather in parts of the US has resulted in strong gains.

Key events to watch this week. This week investors will closely monitor any revisions made to Q4 GDP data from the US and UK, as both are viewed as the engines driving global economic growth. In addition, investors will be awaiting the reaction of Euro group members to the list of proposed reforms that Greece hopes to undertake in order to secure a four month extension to its bailout. Finally, monetary policy remains in the spotlight as Yellen delivers her semi-annual monetary policy testimony to congress.


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