It is getting harder to be bullish on gold and with the yellow metal hovering near its lowest levels since June, some investors are not waiting around for additional downside.
Adding to gold’s glum near-term outlook is the fact that professional traders are not just reducing their bullish exposure to the precious metals, they are upping their bearish bets. “The net-long position in futures and options is at its lowest in 11 weeks after speculators added the most short bets in three months,” report Megan Durisin and Lydia Mulvany for Bloomberg, citing data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), the world’s largest gold ETF, saw its holdings fall 1.2% last week in the biggest weekly decline since early May, according to Bloomberg.
In dollar terms, GLD lost $378.3 million last week while the iShares Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU) lost nearly $7.4 million. That after investors pulled the equivalent of 17 tons of gold from physically-backed ETFs in August. [Traders Pare Long Bets on Gold]
Speaking of dollars, it is the greenback’s strength that is causing problems for gold and other commodities, which are denominated in the U.S. currency. Last week, the European Central Bank lowered interest rates, weakening an already imperiled euro. On Monday, the CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust (NYSEArca: FXB) tumbled in response to rising support for a Scottish independence ahead of a referendum vote scheduled for next week. Over the past month, the CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (NYSEArca: FXY) is off nearly 3%. [Pound ETF Tumbles as Scottish Independence Vote Nears]
Those factors and others have been very good news for the PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish Fund (NYSEArca: UUP), which entered Monday with a one-month gain of nearly 2.8%. Over that time, UUP has added $43.5 million in new assets , a total is surpassed by only five PowerShares ETFs.