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.

Gold ETF flows turn positive in November led by North American funds

Gold-backed ETFs (gold ETFs) experienced net inflows of 13.6 tonnes (t) (US$838mn, 0.4% AUM) in November, the first month of positive flows since July. Inflows into North America and Europe well exceeded outflows from Asia, which saw negative flows for the first time since May. Global gold ETF holdings rebounded from year-to-date lows, increasing to 3,578t (US$208bn) as investment demand for larger gold ETFs returned amid decades-high inflation and heightened market volatility. 

Gold ETFs Continue to Slide in September Driving Net Outflows in Q3

Gold-backed ETFs (gold ETFs) experienced net outflows of 15.2 tonnes (t) (-US$830mn, -0.4% AUM) in September. Outflows in Europe and North America were only partially offset by inflows in Asia. Global gold ETF holdings fell to 3,592t (US$201bn) during the month – the lowest tonnage level since April – as the gold price fell on the back of rising yields, a stronger dollar and a reduction in COMEX managed money net long positions.

Gold ETFs reverse course in August driven by North American outflows

Gold-backed ETFs (gold ETFs) experienced net outflows in August of 22.4 tonnes (t) (-US$1.3bn, -0.6% AUM), as North American outflows outweighed inflows into European and Asian funds. Gold faced headwinds early in August as the dollar briefly strengthened and rising Treasury yields weighed on investment flows, triggering momentum selling shortly thereafter. Gold prices recovered late in the month, but it did not spur sufficient offsetting inflows, as global holdings fell to 3,611t (US$211bn) – the lowest tonnage level since May.

Gold ETFs continue growth with slight inflows in July

Flows into global gold ETFs were marginally positive in July, with inflows of 11.1 tonnes (t) (US$669mn, +0.3% AUM). Inflows into European and Asian funds were mostly offset by outflows from large North American funds. Overall, the positive flows came alongside a recovery in gold prices, particularly in the latter half of the month amid concerns of uncertain global growth outlook and a reaffirmed commitment by central banks to continue easy money policies despite elevated inflation. Global Assets Under Management (AUM) stand at 3,636t (US$214bn), approximately 7% below the October 2020 record tonnage high of 3,909t.

Gold ETF flows slow in June but finish positive in Q2

Flows into global gold ETFs were mostly flat in June, with slight inflows of 2.9 tonnes (t) (US$191mn, +0.1% AUM). Inflows into North American and Asian funds were primarily offset by outflows from European funds. Overall, the positive flows came in spite of significant gold price weakness in the latter half of the month on the heels of a relatively hawkish Federal Reserve (Fed) outlook, suggesting that investors may have taken advantage of the lower price level to gain long gold exposure. Global Assets Under Management (AUM) stands at 3,624t (US$206bn), approximately 7% shy of the October 2020 record tonnage high of 3,909t.

Gold ETF inflows catch up to gold price strength

Global gold ETFs added 61.3t tonnes (t) (US$3.4bn, 1.7% AUM) in May, reversing three straight months of net outflows. We believe this to be largely a function of investment demand increasing with the price strength of gold, along with renewed inflation concerns in the market, a weaker dollar and lower real yields. Global assets under management (AUM) stand at 3,628t (US$222bn). AUM is now only 9% shy of the August 2020 high of US$240bn and 7% shy of the October 2020 tonnage high of 3,908t.

Gold ETF outflows continue, but slow with gold price strength

Global gold ETFs lost 18.3t tonnes (t) (-US$1.1bn, -0.5% AUM) in April, marking outflows for five of the past six months. However, global outflows slowed significantly, as European funds added assets for the first time since January. Global assets under management (AUM) stand at 3,567t (US$203.0bn), after slipping below $200bn for the first time in over a year during March. Since the peak asset levels in November 2020, gold ETF AUM has fallen nearly 14%, with 8% coming from outflows and 6% coming from the gold price selloff in US dollar terms.

North American gold ETF funds drove 86% of Q1 net outflows

Global gold ETFs lost 107.5t tonnes (t) (-US$5.9bn, -2.9% AUM) in March, marking outflows for the fourth month out of five and the second month in a row with net outflows cracking the top 10 worst historically. Global assets under management (AUM) stand at 3,574t (US$194.5bn), back to levels last seen in mid to late Q2 2020. Since the peak asset levels in November 2020, gold ETF holdings have fallen nearly 10% in tonnage terms, on par with the approximate loss in the price of gold over the same period.