Gold ETFs inflows continue in February amid high inflation and geopolitical risk

Global gold ETFs drew net inflows of 35.3t (US$2.1bn, 1.0% of AUM) in February. Positive flows were almost evenly split between North American and European funds, continuing the year-to-date growth in Western markets and considerably outweighing outflows from Asia. Global net inflows were driven by stubbornly high inflation and a surge in geopolitical risk on the back of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which pushed the gold price to an intra-month high of US$1,936/oz.

Gold Market Commentary

The LBMA Gold Price PM (US$) was marginally down in January, dipping less than 1% to US$1,795/oz. But this provides an incomplete picture of the interesting dynamics seen throughout the month.

Gold ETFs bounce back to begin 2022 led by North American funds

Global gold ETFs drew net inflows of 46.3t (US$2.7bn, 1.3% of AUM) in January, led by North American funds – partially offsetting the region’s 2021 outflows. These combined with positive flows from Europe significantly outweighed Asian outflows. Overall, net inflows were driven largely by gold price strength and a sharp selloff in equity markets, despite a reversal in the gold price on the back of a hawkish US Fed statement towards the end of the month.

Gold ETFs had net outflows of US$9bn in 2021 led by North American funds

Physically backed gold ETFs saw global outflows of 173 tonnes (t) (-US$9.1bn, -4.0% AUM) in 2021. Collective gold holdings were down 5% to 3,570t for the year, while assets under management (AUM) in value terms dropped 9% to US$209bn as net outflows were compounded by a 4% contraction in the gold price.  Despite considerable outflows for the year, gold ETF holdings remain significantly above pre-pandemic levels, as they posted record inflows of approximately 875t (US$48bn) during 2020.