Commodity ETPs saw a fifth consecutive week of inflows, with investors taking advantage of price dips in industrial metals to build long positions. With the situation in the Ukraine showing few signs of stabilising and economic data…
ETF Securities Research
from China coming in softer-than-expected, gold and silver prices rose as both metals lived up to their reputation as portfolio diversifiers and insurance assets. Investors tilted their portfolios in favour of silver, likely because of expected leveraged moves relative to the gold price.
ETFS Physical Silver (PHAG) sees $38mn of inflows, the second highest in five months. The strong inflows last week follow on the US$132mn three weeks ago. Investors are increasingly allocating to silver as it has traditionally outperformed gold when both are rising. So far this year gold has returned 13.6% while silver has returned 8.9%, highlighting the potential for silver to catch up. Long gold ETPs saw US$67mn of outflows as some investors chose to take profits on recent price gains.
Long copper ETPs see US$19mn of inflows, the highest in 10 weeks as an 8.9% price drop was viewed as buying opportunity. The main trigger for the price slump was a corporate bond default that raised concerns about a possible unwinding of copper collateralised financing deals that some feared would release copper stockpiles into the market.
Weaker than expected China export and growth numbers and a fall in the Chinese Renminbi added to the negative sentiment. Investors appear to looking beyond the near-term turbulence, which has been driven by the government’s efforts to introduce healthy two-way risk into the market. China’s copper demand in fact remains robust. Imports for January and February are up over 40% on a year earlier, with January imports reaching record levels. Demand generally picks up after the end of Q1, and we expect a similar pattern will be followed this year. Although a number of investors expect prices to continue to fall (there were US$5.7mn of inflows into ETFS Daily Short Copper (SCOP) last week as well) more investors appear to see price upside.
ETFS Aluminium (ALUM) sees largest inflows since August 2013. As the Aluminium price fell 3% last week, flows into ETFS aluminium ETPs rose US$9mn. Investors appear to be looking beyond the lower-than-expected export and production data in China and are focusing on the ore export ban in Indonesia which could crimp China’s production of aluminium given that its smelting facilities are dependent on the low temperature (trihydrate) bauxite which is difficult to get from other sources. Possible Russia export sanctions are also playing a role as Russia is the world’s second largest supplier of the metal.
ETFS Daily Leveraged Natural Gas (LNGA) saw US$6.2mn of inflows as a 6.0% fall in price attracted buyers. However, we continue to believe that demand for gas in spring will be lower and ease the pressure on supplies leading to further price declines. Profit-taking drives US$15.2mn out of long platinum ETPs. The outflows were the largest since September 2013 despite the South Africa mine strike entering its eighth week. So far the three main producers have lost 499,000 ounces of production according to Bloomberg calculations and the figure is closely approaching the 496,359 ounces of lost output from the 2012. While the rally took a pause last week, it has the potential to continue further as stocks deplete.
Key events to watch this week. Next week’s FOMC meeting will be the first chaired by Yellen and the market will be attentive to any change in policy signals. Should EU car registration data continue to rise as it has in the past five months, we could have catalyst to platinum group prices which have simply treaded water last week.