ETP Weekly: Gold Benefits from Portuguese Banking Crisis Says ETF Securities

The outbreak of crisis at Banco Espirito Santo, Portugal’s biggest bank, reminded investors that Europe is still far from fully recovered from the 2008-10 financial crisis. Gold and silver prices rose sharply last week as the news broke…

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ETF Securities Research

prompting some profit taking in gold ETPs. With the potential for a European banking crisis back on many investors radar, financial risk hedges are likely to remain in demand in our view. Industrial metals were also in focus last week as China macro data continues to improve and the government continues to pledge support. We believe China growth bottomed in Q1, with a relatively robust rebound in store in H2, marking a key economic turning point after three years of slowdown. Barring a major global negative risk event, improving demand conditions in China should continue to support most metals prices.

Gold ETPs see US$243mn of outflows on profit taking. Last week the gold price jumped to its highest level in nearly four months as Portugal’s banking crisis reminded investors about the risks to the global economic outlook. Share trading in Banco Espirito Santo, Portugal’s biggest bank, was halted last Thursday after the price plummeted by over 17% in a day. Banco Espirito Santo has lost over half of its value over the past month on fears that the financial difficulties at the Espirito Santo Group will engulf the bank and prompt a banking crisis in Europe.  Meanwhile, India kept import duties on gold unchanged at 10% in its fiscal budget. At the same time, ETFS Physical Platinum (PHPT) saw US$5mn of inflows, the largest in four weeks. Despite the loss of over 1moz to the South African strikes, the platinum price has lagged behind palladium so far this year, prompting investors to favour the metal in anticipation of further catch-up.

ETFS Daily Leveraged Natural Gas (LNGA) records US$7.4mn of inflows as price falls to the lowest level in 6 months. With mild weather expected to persist through July and August, natural gas prices are coming under pressure. We believe that lower demand for natural gas, together with normal seasonal price declines will push the Henry Hub natural gas price back down towards US$3.5/MMBtu. Meanwhile, ETFS WTI Crude Oil (CRUD) saw US$20mn of outflows as US crude oil production rose to the highest level since 1986 and Libya shows signs of boosting exports. 

Investors favour diversified industrial metal exposure, with over US$20mn of inflows. While single metal ETPs saw small outflows last week, ETFS Industrial Metals (AIGI) recorded the 4th consecutive week of inflows. With the People’s Bank of China and the European Central Bank loosening their policy settings, global growth is more likely to rebound in the second half of this year. Cyclical commodities, especially industrial metals stand to benefit the most from a better growth environment. 

Long wheat ETPs see US$10mn of inflows as recent price correction is seen as excessive by some investors. Wheat prices plummeted by over 5% last week to a four-year low on abundant supply this year. In its latest WASDE report, the USDA confirmed that despite less planting, growing conditions have been near-perfect, prompting an increase in grains production. Ending stocks for corn, wheat and soybeans were also revised upwards, weighing on prices.

Key events to watch this week. Chinese GDP, industrial production, money supply and lending data will be closely watched to assess the impact of recent reforms on the economy. Yellen’s testimony to the Senate will also be watched as investors try to guess the timing of the first rate hike, after the latest payroll numbers came out stronger than expected.


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