The Swiss National Bank rattled global financial markets Thursday with its announcement that it is scrapping the franc’s euro peg, news that sent the CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust (NYSEArca: FXF) and scores of other well-known ETFs surging.
EUR/CHF is down 13.3% to 1.0410 and is flirting with parity, a once incomprehensible thought to forex market observers. The franc’s Thursday surge is having a wide-ranging impact across the ETF spectrum, particularly in the commodities space.
As ETF Trends reported earlier, FXF is Thursday’s top performing non-leveraged ETF, but the next five ETFs after that are gold and silver miners ETFs. The top 20 non-leveraged ETFs to this point in Thursday’s session are comprised of FXF, six gold or silver miners ETFs and five ETFs that either hold physical gold or are based on gold futures. [Swissie Surge Felt Across the ETF Map]
Gold’s positive reaction to the franc’s surge is not surprising because scores of traders see the Swiss currency and bullion as joined at the hip.
“As you can see the two have tracked each other pretty closely over the years or close enough that many professionals will use this relationship as an excuse to justify trading a bounce in the commodity spectrum,” said Rareview Macro founder Neil Azous in a note out Thursday.
Chart Courtesy: Neil Azous, Rareview Macro
There are signs pointing to more upside for commodities, including gold, though a countertrend move for downtrodden commodities ETFs should be approached with caution. For example, the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), the world’s largest gold ETF, is up nearly 3% today and trading above its 200-day moving average for the first time since September.
Rising gold prices are, of course, positive for gold miners and the ETFs that track those stocks already rank among this year’s best performers. It is also worth noting that production is not slowing even after two consecutive annual losses for GLD. On top of that gold miners, including those that make homes in Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX), have not been actively hedging production, indicating they believe a floor is in for gold prices. [Positive View on Miners ETFs]
“To be clear, we only find an upswing in commodities easier to understand. That is different from having a position and conviction. At best, if we were short of Crude Oil and the Australian Dollar (AUD/USD) specifically we would be very uncomfortable at the moment. If investors have to cover shorts as a result of losses elsewhere in their books, then these two instruments are prime candidates to outperform as gross exposure is reduced,” adds Azous.