The dichotomy between better economic conditions and rising geopolitical risk has led to flows into both cyclical and defensive metals. Long gold and silver ETPs respectively saw their fourth and third consecutive weeks of inflows, while industrial metals like ETFS Aluminum saw its highest flows in 13 weeks….
ETF Securities Research
There is growing momentum behind gold and silver prices, which have both been rising on a weekly basis for the past four weeks, breaking the rout that both metals faced during most of last year and the first half of this year. While the lack of a resolution of the Iraq situation has kept gold prices from falling, strong growth in US payrolls sapped some of the gains earlier in the week. However, increasing signs of strength in the US labour market lent support to cyclical metals. With the exception of lead, all industrial metals saw inflows last week.
US$20mn flowed into physical gold ETPs this week. The lack of a resolution of the crisis in Iraq together with general risk hedge demand continued to keep interest in gold high, marking the fourth consecutive week of inflows into long gold ETPs. Concerns stemming from gold technicals entering a “death-cross” just a month ago appear to have been vastly exaggerated, with momentum having flipped to the positive. After having overshot to the downside in last year’s crash, gold has made a strong comeback this year, with futures and ETP investors becoming more bullish. This week’s Indian Budget could reveal reductions in India’s gold trade restrictions which has the potential to add another leg to the current rally.
ETFS Physical Silver (PHAG) received a fifth consecutive week of inflows. Long silver ETPs recorded a third consecutive week of inflows. PHAG received US$26.5mn, which when added to the prior week was the highest fortnightly inflow since February. Silver, with its close correlation to gold, and its wide industrial applications has been benefiting from the current climate of growing manufacturing demand and haven interests in precious metals.
The continuing conflict in Iraq saw US$22.4mn flow into ETFS Brent (OILB), the third consecutive week of inflows. With no resolution in sight, the market expects crude oil supplies to tighten.
All industrial metal ETPs saw inflows with the exception of lead. ETFS Aluminium (ALUM) saw US$27.5mn, the largest inflows since March. After years of aluminium oversupply, some are concerned that the tightness in bauxite supply (an ore used to make aluminium), could significantly reduce the surplus. China’s drive to pursue more market driven policies could see some its loss-making aluminium factories close. Meanwhile demand for the metal is rising with a number of car producers planning to substitute heavier metals for aluminium in a bid to gain more fuel efficiency.
ETFS Copper (COPA) received US$9.4mn, the highest in four weeks. Copper prices gained 2.9% last week as growing optimism about China’s demand outweighed the negative sentiment that the probe into copper financing fraud has set on the market. We have long-held the view that the supply surplus forecast by the International Copper Study Group will need to be revised to a deficit for this year, as has occurred in the past few years. With Chinese PMIs increasing and a decisive stimulus programme lifting economic prospects, copper demand is likely to rise this year. We have a target of US$7500/MT for the metal from its current US$7186.
Key events to watch this week. Chinese money supply and lending data will be closely observed to assess if the economy has the right balance of liquidity to keep the recovery in place. India’s budget could reveal some modifications to the current gold trade restrictions, which could support the current price rally.