Diversified commodity basket ETPs dominate inflows….
Softening momentum in global manufacturing data sparked outflows from copper, aluminium and industrial metal basket ETPs.
Outflows from gold ETPs rose for the fifth consecutive week amidst a strong US dollar.
Crude oil ETPs faced another week of outflows as higher inventory data caused oil prices to decline.
Inflows into diversified commodity basket ETPs, totalling US$92.5mn surged to their highest level since May 2016. Rising volatility across global financial markets in conjunction with supportive fundamentals for most commodities favours the case for diversifying a portfolio.
Softening momentum in global manufacturing data sparked outflows from copper, aluminium and broad industrial metal basket ETPs worth US$28.9mn, US$11.1mn and US$14.8mn respectively. The decline in Chinese Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector to its lowest level since July 2016 appears to have stoked concerns of future demand for industrial metals, coupled with weaker manufacturing PMI data across US, Europe and UK. Added to that, copper production in Chile, home to the world’s largest copper mining producer, rose 6.3% over the prior year in January providing evidence of rising copper supply. The imposition of trade tariffs by President Trump on steel and aluminium imports generated volatility across industrial metals prompting outflows from industrial metal basket and aluminium ETPs for the first time in three weeks. Nickel ETPs bucked the trend, by recording inflows of US$9.4mn owing to expectations of demand from battery technology.
Outflows from gold ETPs amounting to US$93.8mn rose for the fifth week in a row amidst a strong US dollar. In the first nine weeks of 2018, the overall trend of gold ETP flows has largely been negative. Last week marked the fifth consecutive week of gold ETP outflows as the US dollar strengthened in the aftermath of Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell’s optimistic view of the US economy and upward trajectory of interest rates. Meanwhile, precious metal basket ETPs garnered inflows worth US$11.1mn for the fifth consecutive week.
Crude oil ETPs faced another week of outflows worth US$15.8mn. Since the start of 2018, there has only been one week of inflows into crude oil ETPs highlighting the ensuing pessimism amongst ETP investors, who have been opportunistically selling into the price rally that began around June 2017. Last week, crude oil prices came under significant pressure owing to an unexpected sharp increase in US crude oil stocks in conjunction with the firmer US dollar. Added to that, weaker manufacturing data in China, known to be the world’s largest crude oil importer, amplified risk aversion amongst investors. The drop in OPEC production to a 10-month low in February failed to counteract the bearish sentiment since it is largely attributable to temporary production shortfalls in Venezuela.