Robust economic data from the US prompted investors to move into more cyclical assets last week, with the more industrially linked precious metals, particularly silver and palladium seeing strong demand. WTI oil also saw rising…
ETF Securities Research
demand on falling US stocks. The US recovery seems to be regaining its footing, with the weather induced slowdown earlier in 2014 appearing to be an aberration. Palladium has also benefited from continued mine shutdowns in South Africa. Cyclical assets should continue to outperform following this soft patch, with gold still likely to be one of the best hedges against the risk this benign consensus scenario proves wrong.
Long silver and palladium ETPs see over US$41mn of inflows as investors build positions in the more industrially-oriented precious metals. Last week the price of gold fell to its lowest level since the beginning of February as the US dollar strengthened following robust US data and follow-on buying following Yellen’s more hawkish than expected post-FOMC comments. Expectations of a rate hike earlier than originally foreseen also contributed to the negative momentum, prompting US$18mn of outflows from long gold ETPs. While gold and silver correlations remain historically high, silver could decouple if industrial demand rebounds strongly. Both platinum and palladium have benefitted in 2014 from South African miner strikes and potential supply disruptions in Russia on the back of the Crimean crisis. With the strikes now entering their 10th week and over 800,000 ounces (14%of global supply) of platinum production lost, platinum and palladium should be in a good position to benefit from an unexpectedly tight market.
Inflows into Long WTI ETPs reach 5-month high, totalling US$31mn, as shrinking stockpiles buoy price. We expect the WTI-Brent crude spread will continue to narrow as the upcoming US driving season boosts US oil demand, in turn lifting the WTI price while a reduction in the geopolitical risk premium puts downward pressure on Brent.
Investors favour diversified agriculture exposure, with sowing season fast approaching. ETFS Agriculture (AIGA) and ETFS Grains (AIGG) received combined inflows for US$11.7mn last week, the largest in almost a year. Drought and irregular weather patterns have sent the price of grains and soft commodities higher this year. In recent weeks meteorologists have raised the probability of an El Niño event taking place later this year. El Niño has the reputation for being a powerful catalyst to driving weather extremes such as floods and droughts in different parts of the world, in turn impacting crop production.
ETFS Coffee (COFF) ETP sees the 9th consecutive week of outflows on expectations of rain in Brazil. COFF has seen over US$100mn of outflows over the past 9 weeks, as rains aided drought parched coffee crop growth. The Arabica coffee price plummeted to the lowest level in almost a month last week, as more precipitation is expected in Brazil over the next few days. Although the damage to this year’s crop in Brazil could lead to a supply deficit, the stock overhang from last year’s bumper harvest is ample.
Profit-taking prompts US$5.1mn out of ETFS Nickel (NICK). Nickel price has jumped almost 9% over the past month on Indonesia’s ore export ban and fears of trade sanctions to be imposed against Russia. With Russia and Indonesia accounting for over 34% of nickel concentrate production, supply disruptions are likely to continue to support the nickel price.
Key events to watch this week. This week the focus will likely be on the ECB rate decision, although most analysts expect the central bank to leave monetary policy unchanged. A number of manufacturing PMIs will also be released this week, with China and the US likely to be watched carefully. US non-farm payrolls will conclude the week and will be fundamental to assess the timing of the Fed tapering and rate hike.