The global demand for gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) remained strong during the first half registering 28 tonne ($1.7 billion) of outflows in June despite the second consecutive month of outflows, following the 53 tonne that left these funds in May, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).
The council reported the highest level of quarterly inflows since Q3 2020 – propelled by equity market weakness, rapidly rising inflation expectations and geopolitical events.
While the recent flows were enough to push Q2 into net outflows of 39 tonne valued at $2 billion, year-to-date net inflows remained positive at 234 tonne ($14.8 billion). Total holdings at the end of June stood at 3,792 tonne ($221.7 billion), up 6% y-t-d, stated the WGC report.
North American and European funds were the only regions to see outflows in June. North American holdings fell by 26t ($1.5 billion), with outflows dominated by the largest and most liquid US funds.
According to WGC, tntense focus on the future pace of interest rate hikes and a stronger US dollar were the primary headwinds for gold investment. European funds saw more modest outflows of 4 tonne ($245 million), concentrated in Switzerland, Germany and France.
Despite the gloomy economic outlook for Europe, with record inflation and rising sovereign borrowing costs, the European Central Bank indicated it will raise interest rates in July – the first hike in more than 11 years – which weighed on sentiment.
In the UK, holdings were up $205.4 million even as the Bank of England increased interest rates for a fifth straight month.
Holdings in Asia rose fractionally (1 tonne, $66.1 million). In China, the range-bound gold price and local equity strength discouraged greater levels of gold ETF investment, it stated.
In India, minor net inflows continued in June, primarily driven by market volatility and a depreciating rupee attracting investment into Indian gold ETFs. Holdings in other region were virtually flat month-on-month, it added.