It is not a surprise. After all, commodities are denominated in U.S. dollars and rare is the instance in which commodities and the U.S. currency rally in unison.
A commodities/dollar rally is not materializing this time around, either. As the U.S. Dollar Index has recently surged, commodities, including oil and precious metals along with the exchange traded funds that track those assets, have been punished. Of course, the European Central Bank did not do commodities bulls any favors.
“With continued divergence in economic performance between the US and Euro area, we expect US dollar strength to continue to pressure precious metal performance in dollar terms. However, if the benign scenario that is priced into global equities and other cyclical assets proves to be wrong, precious metals and gold in particular could prove to be an effective hedge. The surprise rate cut of 10bps by the ECB led to the sharpest weekly drop in the Euro since the week ending January 31 while gold in USD terms declined 1.5%,” said ETF Securities in a new research note.
That comment was in reference to last week’s price action. On Monday, gold ETF’s, such as the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), dipped to their lowest levels since June. Conversely, dollar ETFs are in rally mode. [Gold ETFs Hit by Outflows]
On Monday, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund (NYSEArca: UUP), which acts as an ETF proxy for the U.S. Dollar Index, rose to its highest levels since July 2013 and did so on volume that was well above the daily average. UUP is 3.4% over the past month. [Dollar ETFs in Style]
The WisdomTree Bloomberg U.S. Dollar Bullish Fund (NYSEArca: USDU) has also posted a solid one-month run, gaining 2.3%. The actively managed USDU tracks the performance of the greenback against the against the euro, yen, Canadian dollar, U.K. sterling, Mexican peso, Australia dollar, franc, South Korean won, Chinese yuan and Brazilian real.
With the euro imperiled after the ECB’s surprise rate cut, the pound sliding in anticipation of the Scottish independence vote and the yen falling to another six-year low against the buck during Tuesday’s Asian session, UUP and USDU appear to have more upside ahead. [Scottish Independence Vote Pressure U.K. ETFs]