Gold ETF Flows: June 2022

Gold ETF demand strong year-to-date despite outflows in June


June highlights

Global gold ETFs registered 28t (US$1.7bn) of outflows in June. This was the second consecutive month of outflows, following the 53t (US$3.1bn) that left these funds in May. While the recent flows were enough to push Q2 into net outflows of 39t (US$2bn), year-to-date net inflows remained positive at 234t (US$14.8bn). Total holdings at the end of June stood at 3,792t (US$221.7bn), up 6% y-t-d.

North American and European funds were the only regions to see outflows in June. North American holdings fell by 26t (US$1.5bn), with outflows dominated by the largest and most liquid US funds. Intense 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 4t (US$245mn), 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 US$205.4mn even as the Bank of England increased interest rates for a fifth straight month.

Holdings in Asia rose fractionally (1t, US$66.1mn). In China, the range-bound gold price and local equity strength discouraged greater levels of gold ETF investment. 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.1


ETF flows chart

Data as of

Sources: Bloomberg, Company Filings, ICE Benchmark Administration, World Gold Council; Disclaimer

H1 highlights

On a y-t-d basis, the picture is one of strength, with all regions except Asia having seen inflows. But it was a tale of two halves. Demand for gold ETFs surged in Q1 to 273t – the highest level of quarterly inflows since Q3 2020 – propelled by gold price strength, equity market weakness, rapidly rising inflation expectations, and unexpected geopolitical events. This investment partially reversed in Q2, with outflows of 39t, as interest rate hikes and quantitative tightening came to dominate the narrative. But the fact that only a fraction of the Q1 inflows were unwound is a sign that much of this demand is ‘sticky’, more strategic in nature than tactical in our view.

At a regional level, North American and European funds attracted the lion’s share of investment. In H1, US fund holdings rose by 129t (US$8.1bn) and European funds added 119t (US$7.5bn). Funds in ‘other’ regions rose by a marginal 2t. Asia was the only region to see net outflows over the first half of 2022, declining by 16t with Chinese funds the main contributor. While the bulk of Chinese outflows occurred during Q1, impacted by the New Year holiday and tactical trading into a rising gold price, lower gold price volatility and profit-taking led to further outflows in Q2.

Mid-year outlook

Investors around the world face a challenging environment during H2 2022, needing to navigate a noxious compound of rising interest rates, high inflation and geopolitical risks. In the near term, the gold price will likely remain sensitive to real rates, the speed at which global central banks tighten monetary policy, and their effectiveness in controlling inflation. Read more in our Mid-year Outlook report.

Gold trading volumes and futures demand subdued in June

Average daily trading volumes for gold totalled US$118.2bn in June, below the US$137.3bn average in May. Declines across OTC, exchanges and gold ETFs contributed to the m-o-m fall, although China was a bright spot with higher trading volumes on the Shanghai Gold Exchange and in Chinese gold ETFs in June. The latest Commitment of Traders (COT) report for Comex showed net long positioning declining marginally in June. In the week ending 28 June, net longs totalled 513t (US$30bn), down from 564t (US$33.4bn) at the end of May.

Regional flows2

Western regions saw outflows in June, while Asian funds increased fractionally

  • North American funds saw outflows of 26t (US$1.5bn, -1%)
  • European funds fell by 4t (US$245.3mn, -0.2%)
  • Funds listed in Asia had inflows of 1t (US$66.1mn, 1%)
  • Funds in other regions were virtually flat with inflows of 0.1t (US$8.6mn, 0.2%).

Individual flows

In Europe, UK-listed funds iShares Physical Gold and WisdomTree Physical Swiss Gold registered the largest inflows, while SPDR® Gold Shares and iShares Gold Trust led global outflows

  • In North America, SPDR® Gold Shares led outflows, with AUM dropping 18t (-US$1bn, -2%), while iShares Gold Trust lost 9t (-US$511.5mn, -2%). In the low-cost space, Goldman Sachs Physical Gold saw the largest inflows, with holdings rising 1t (US$47.4mn, 9%)
  • In Europe, iShares Physical Gold grew by 8t (US$447.8mn, 3%) and WisdomTree Physical Swiss Gold rose by 1t (US$77.1mn, 3%). Invesco Physical Gold experienced the largest outflows, totalling 6t (-US$353.7mn, -2%)
  • In Asia, Chinese ETF Guotai Gold saw inflows of 0.4t (US$24.4mn, 29%), but this was partially offset by outflows in Huaan Yifu Gold, which lost 0.3t (-US$20.1mn, -1%). Minimal flows were seen in other funds across the region.

Long-term trends

H1 2022 gold ETF inflows remain strong despite outflows in Q2

  • Following two consecutive months of net outflows in May and June, global holdings of gold ETFs are now 6% (+234t, US$14.8bn)) higher y-t-d, eclipsing 2021’s annual inflows of 173t
  • Year-to-date, North American- and European-listed funds have absorbed a combined 248t of inflows. In contrast, holdings of Asian-listed funds are 16t lower y-t-d, due to fairly sizable outflows in China.



  1. ‘Other’ regions include Australia, South Africa, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

  2. We calculate gold-backed ETF flows both in ounces/tonnes of gold and in US dollars because these two metrics are relevant in understanding funds’ performance. The change in tonnes gives a direct measure of how holdings evolve, while the dollar value of flows is a finance-industry standard that gives a perspective on how much investment reaches the funds. We have made a few adjustments and improvements to our calculation methodology as of 1 July 2021 that will impact historical and future data. Specifically, we revised the methodology used to estimate changes in gold holdings as described below:

    • Previously, changes in tonnes were calculated by converting a fund’s AUM (in USD) into gold holdings (in tonnes) and computing the difference over periods. However, currency movements and large daily and weekly gold price movements could distort the difference between tonnage change and US-dollar fund flows during short time horizons. We therefore adjusted tonnage change as a function of fund flows versus AUM and replaced the tonnage change field with fund flows (tonnes).
    • Now, for most funds, we estimate US-dollar fund flows, as described in section 2.3.2 below, and then convert those flows to fund flows (tonnes).
    • Fund flows (tonnes) and US-dollar fund flows will now represent a more aligned explanation of investment demand for gold ETFs, while the true holdings of a fund, in US dollars and tonnage, will remain a close estimate, impacted by the currency and price volatility described above.
    • Based on our initial analysis, the changes are not likely to have a material long-term effect on historical information, particularly on a global or regional aggregate basis, but will adjust short-term fluctuations that can sometimes occur due to input data and timing variations.