Gold ETF Flows: January 2024

2024 began with continued outflows



  • Global gold ETFs kicked off 2024 with the eighth monthly outflow, led by North American funds. 
  • As the market pushed back against bets on early rate cuts by major central banks, gold prices retreated in January, dimming investors’ interest in gold ETFs. 
  • Collective holdings of global gold ETFs fell by 51t to 3,175t; meanwhile, total AUM lost 2%, arriving at US$210bn.
  • While holdings were 19% below the month-end peak in October 2020 (3,915t), their AUM fell by 13% compared to the all-time-high of US$240bn recorded in August 2020.

January in review

Global physically backed gold ETFs1  began 2024 with US$2.8bn outflows in January, stretching their losing streak to eight months.2 This was equivalent to a 51t reduction in global holdings, to 3,175t by the end of January. Meanwhile, total assets under management (AUM) fell to US$210bn, a 2% decline due to outflows in the month and a 1% gold price fall.3 

Overall, North America led global outflows and European funds continued to see heavy losses. Asia captured another inflow while fund flow changes in the Other region were limited. 

January regional overview

North American funds pared losses of US$2.3bn in January, snapping the emerging trend of inflows during the previous two months. Recent robust US economic data has led investors to reassess their bets on the Fed’s first rate cut in March – the probability priced in by swap markets fell sharply.4 As a result, both the dollar and the 10-year Treasury yield rebounded, weighing on the gold price and leading to sales of gold ETFs. And with US equities reaching new highs, local investors’ appetite for gold was further dented. After January’s decline, collective holdings of North American funds fell to the lowest since April 2020. As usual, the largest funds saw the heaviest outflows during the month.

Europe had its eighth consecutive monthly loss in January. Nonetheless, the US$730mn outflow has significantly narrowed compared to the previous month (-US$2bn). Although the European Central Bank (ECB) held rates unchanged for the third successive meeting in January, officials have been vocal in delivering the message that the market may have gone too far in pricing early rate cuts. And this gave local investors a reality check, pushing back their bets on lower interest rates ahead and fuelling notable rebounds in the region’s government bond yields and currencies. Combined with lacklustre performances of gold prices in the area, investors continued to dial down their gold ETF holdings. Meanwhile, FX-hedged funds accounted for another chunky part of European outflows. Following eight straight monthly falls, total holdings of the region’s funds slipped to the lowest in four years. Funds listed in Germany and Switzerland lost the most. 

Asian funds added US$215mn in January, extending their inflow streak to 11 months. China continued to dominate the region’s inflows as the sixth consecutive monthly fall in local equities and a weaker currency lifted investors’ safe-haven demand. The Other region experienced limited changes in gold ETF demand, adding US$8mn in the month, mainly contributed by South Africa. It is worth mentioning that the losses from FX-hedged products were the main reason for the region’s 0.4t reduction in holdings.

Globally, low-cost gold ETFs saw their eighth consecutive monthly outflow in January, losing US$207mn (-4t). North America (-US$243mn) drove global outflows while low-cost funds in Europe registered inflows (+US$32mn.)5  Following January’s loss, the total AUM of low-cost funds declined by 1% to US$55bn. Meanwhile, their collective holdings fell to 832t, the lowest since April 2021.


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.

Gold market trading volumes bounced higher

Despite a decline in the gold price, the average trading volumes across global gold markets rose to US$175bn in the first month of 2024, a 15% m/m rebound. Over-the-counter (OTC) trading activities climbed to US$103bn/day, 9% higher m/m, partially driven by the traditional physical gold sales boost ahead of the Chinese New Year Holiday. Volumes of exchange-traded derivatives (+25% m/m) also increased, mainly contributed by COMEX (+39% m/m). As outflows from global gold ETFs continued, trading activities in the market were tepid (-18% m/m).

Net longs on COMEX declined to 471t as of January, a 30% decrease compared to the end-2023 level (677t).6 Money manager net longs experienced a deeper fall as the gold price retreated, plunging by 47% m/m and reaching 224t at the end of January.


  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 in 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 the LBMA Gold Price PM. 

  4. Low-cost gold-backed ETFs are defined by the World Gold Council as exchange-traded open-ended funds listed in the US and Europe, backed by physical gold, with annual management fees and other expenses such as FX costs of 20bps or less.

  5. Based on net longs on 26th December 2023.