Searching for yield-generating and riskier equity assets on the brightening macroeconomic outlook, investors have redeemed an unprecedented amount gold exchange traded funds over the second quarter.

According to ETF Securities, global gold ETFs experienced net outflows of $18.5 billion in the period between end of March through June, the largest quarterly sell-off since ETF Securities launched the first gold ETF in 2003, reports Francesca Freeman for the Wall Street Journal.

To put this in perspective, total commodity ETF outflows in the second quarter was $19.6 billion.

“There have been good, rational reasons for investors to be bearish on gold” in recent months, Nicholas Brooks, head of research and strategy at ETF Securities, said in the article.

Gold prices have slumped 23% during the second quarter. The metal experienced steep declines on speculation that the Fed would begin “tapering” its quantitative easing measure sooner rather than later. [Treasury, Gold ETFs Tank After Jobs Report as Dollar Spikes]

“For many people, the challenge for going back into gold is that if quantitative easing is scaled back and you’ve got rising real interest rates, then gold doesn’t look like a good investment,” Deborah Fuhr, co-founder and partner at independent ETF research and consultancy firm ETFGI, said in the article. “Many people just don’t see the case for gold, given that it’s not an income-generating investment and many people are looking for yield.”

Gold, a traditional safe-haven asset, has been favored during times of market volatility and uncertainty, but the recovering economy has fueled a rally in the equities market. [Gold ETFs Lose Luster After June Nonfarm Payrolls Report]

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