Gold ETF Flows: July 2023

Outflows decelerated in July



  • Outflows from global gold ETFs continued in July but narrowed compared to June
  • Europe led global outflows, closely followed by North America 
  • Despite net y-t-d outflows virtually all from Europe – global gold ETF AUM has increased by 6%, supported by gold’s strong price performance. 

July highlights

Physically-backed gold ETFs1  saw net outflows of US$2.3bn in July, equivalent to a 34t reduction in holdings. Despite this, total assets under management (AUM) increased by 2% m/m to US$215bn as a rebound in gold price more than offset negative flows.2  The higher gold price also helped moderate gold ETF outflows, which were 39% lower in July than in June.3  

Overall, global gold y-t-d flows were -US$4.9bn at end July, a cumulative reduction of 84t in holdings. 

Regional highlights

All regions experienced outflows in July except for Asia. 

North American funds saw their second consecutive monthly outflows in July. But the US$986mn loss was notably lower than in June (-US$2bn). The US Fed increased rates by 25bps in July, but with recent inflation data softening, investors expect the Fed’s current tightening cycle to end soon.4 While such expectations supported the gold price, they also led to investor risk-on sentiment and a rally in equities, which may have diverted investment away from gold. 

Nonetheless, the gold price rebound in the lead-up up to the monthly expiration of major gold ETF options contributed positively to the region’s demand.5 Despite recent outflows, y-t-d demand in North American funds stayed positive at US$567mn (+4t), dominating global inflows. 

European funds shed US$1.3bn (-18t) in July. To tame the region’s stubborn inflation pressure the European Central Bank and the Bank of England lifted their policy rates to multi-decade highs.6 Combined with investor expectations of further rate hikes ahead, interest in gold ETFs remained tepid in the region. On a positive note, FX-hedged products in Europe continued to see inflows amid changes in local currencies.7  So far in 2023, Europe registered a net outflow of US$5.5bn (-87t), far outstripping inflows elsewhere. The majority of outflows came from UK funds (-US$2.7bn). 

Asia registered another gain (+US$132mn, +2t) in July. Japan inflows outweighed outflows from Chinese funds during the month. Funds listed in China and India were main contributors. Y-t-d Asia is the only region with positive gold ETF demand apart from North America, attracting US$177mn (+3t). The majority of this has come from Japan (+US$170mn), possibly driven by a 14% rise in the local gold price and persistent inflation.8

The Other region9 continued to see negative demand (-US$94mn, -2t). South African funds accounted for the bulk of the region’s outflows, potentially impacted by lower safe-haven demand from local investors in the face of a strong local currency and rapidly cooling inflation.10  During the first seven months the Other region lost US$164mn (-3t), mainly from South Africa (-US$131mn) and Australia (-US$76mn). 

Trading activity bounced higher in July

Global gold trading volumes rebounded to US$173bn/day in July, 14% higher m/m. The gold price experienced a stronger month than June and volumes rose accordingly. Trading volumes on OTC markets were 5% higher m/m whilst gold trading activity at exchanges jumped by 29%, led by COMEX. In contrast, global gold ETFs declined, with the average volume falling by 18%. 

Total net longs in COMEX gold futures reached 559t on 25 July, a 17% rise compared to end June. As the gold price firmed its footing at around US$1,900/oz, tactical positioning at the futures market turned bullish, putting a stop to the decline in total net longs since May. And as the gold price stabilised during the last week of July, net longs pulled back.


Gold ETF flows

Data as of

Demand captures changes in global/regional gold holdings; fund flows capture the net amount of money (in USD) that comes in or out of gold ETFs globally/regionally. See methodology note.

Individual flows

  • North America: large funds endured the heaviest losses as SPDR® Gold Shares (-US$536mn) and iShares Gold Trust (-US$272mn) led outflows
  • Europe: UK funds continued to see the bulk of outflows – iShares Physical Gold ETC (-US$453mn) lost the most; Pictet CH Precious Metals Fund. Physical Gold (+US$36mn) from Switzerland saw the region’s largest inflow
  • Asia: China’s Bosera Gold Exchange Trade Open-End Fund ETF (+US$39mn) and Japan Physical Gold ETF (+US$37mn) dominated inflows 
  • Other region: outflows were mainly from South Africa’s NewGold Issuer Ltd which lost US$101mn. 

Long-term trends

  • By the end of July, total holdings of global gold ETFs fell to the lowest since April 2020, 14% below the previous record low of 3,919t set in October 2020
  • European funds’ y-t-d outflows were the second largest since records began; the worst was recorded in 2013 (-US$9,399mn)
  • Low-cost gold ETFs registered outflows of US$1.2bn (-19t), a narrower loss compared to June. Y-t-d, net outflows from these funds amount to US$1.8bn (-30t), European funds lost the most (-US$2.5bn, -41t) while North America registered inflows (+US$695mn, +11t).11


  1. We define gold ETFs as regulated securities that hold gold in physical form. These include open-ended funds traded on regulated exchanges and other regulated products such as closed-end funds and mutual funds. A complete list is included on the gold ETF section of

  2. We track gold ETF assets in two ways: the quantity of gold they hold, generally measured in tonnes, and the equivalent value of those holdings in US dollars (AUM). We also monitor how these fund assets change through time by looking at two key metrics: demand and fund flows.

    • Gold ETF demand is the change in gold holdings during a given period. We use this metric to calculate the quarterly demand estimates reported in Gold Demand Trends.
    • Fund flows represent the amount of money – reported in US dollars – that investors have put into (or retrieved from) a fund during a given period. 
      For more details, see our ETF methodology note
  3. Based on LBMA Gold Price PM in USD.

  4. Regular monthly expiration of ETF options occurs on the third Friday of each month. When gold prices rally into a major options expiration, it often elicits additional call options to be exercised creating primary activity in ETFs

  5. For more, see: ETF methodology note.

  6. Based on the LBMA Gold Price PM in JPY

  7. The Other region includes Australia, South Africa, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates