October was Unkind to Gold ETFs

Exchange traded funds backed by physical holdings of gold endured a brutal October as investors continued departing the funds for greener pastures.

The SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), the world’s largest gold ETF, shed over $1.1 billion in assets last month, a total surpassed by just five other ETFs. That is GLD’s largest monthly outflow this year. “Data from the GLD fund showed on Monday that its holdings slid to their lowest in six years after an outflow of 28.7 tonnes in October,” reports Jan Harvey for Reuters.

GLD is not alone when it comes to fourth-quarter departures from gold ETFs. The iShares Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU) and the ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (NYSEArca: SGOL) lost a combined $53.6 million in assets last month. [Gold ETFs Lose Assets Even as Gold Rises]

Concerning some gold market observers is that gold ETFs bled assets in October last month despite a spike in U.S.-equity market volatility early in the month and the start of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, which often prompts increased gold demand. India is the world’s second-largest gold consumer behind China.

Investors also left other precious metals ETFs last month. Nearly $98 million was pulled from the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV), representing a reversal of a trend seen throughout much of this year where silver ETFs gained assets even as gold ETFs fell out of favor. SLV slumped 6% last month while GLD fell 3.5%.