Gold rose slightly in October, despite a risk-on environment and increases in short-term bond yields
Gold-backed ETFs (gold ETFs) experienced net outflows of 25.5 tonnes (t) (-US$1.4bn, -0.7% AUM) in October. Outflows of near equal magnitude from Europe and North America were marginally offset by inflows in Asia.
Q3 gold demand down 7% to 831t
ETF outflows outweighed continued recovery in other sectors
Fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s already declining cash target rate dropped to 0.1% in 2020, the lowest since 1990. This led to a reduction in Australian superannuation fund allocations to cash and bonds and an increase in risk-on assets, such as equities, in the hunt for returns. But will this move help achieve their desired returns at reasonable risk levels?
Econometric analysis shows that rising income is the most powerful driver of Indian gold demand in the long term. This bodes well for gold demand as the economy is set to benefit from a demographic dividend: the IMF forecasts per capita GDP growth of 23% between 2022 and 2026.
We believe that mandatory hallmarking will be positive for India’s gold market, improving transparency and giving consumers more confidence in the purity of the gold they buy.
Over the past two months, economic growth has disappointed even as inflation has exceeded expectations. A real risk of stagflation, with rising costs amid lower growth, appears to be on the cards.
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 fell in September by 4% to around US$1,743/oz. This was the second consecutive month of declines, with gold now over 8% lower y-t-d. Gold wasn’t alone. Treasuries, Corporates, US- and non-US equities all fell in September possibly as a result of deleveraging. The Q2 level of margin debt for equities was at a record high. It would be understandable if some leverage has been removed as we head into the historically volatile month of October. And it’s quite possible that this de-leveraging has affected most assets (energy and industrial metals excepted).
This year marks 50 years since the end of gold’s formal link to currency. In the half-century that has passed since this milestone, the world has evolved in ways that were probably unimaginable to the political and economic leaders of that time. As the world has changed, so too has the role of gold. Whereas central banks steadily sold down their gold reserves for several decades after the end of the Bretton Woods system, they have since re-emerged as net buyers of gold for the past eleven years, with emerging market countries leading the way.