After a decent start to 2015, gold exchange traded funds are struggling this month as global equity markets firm and the U.S. dollar continues its ascent.
Entering Monday, the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), the world’s largest ETF backed by physical holdings of gold, was saddled with a February loss of 5.8%. The iShares Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU) and ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (NYSEArca: SGOL) were also down comparable amounts.
“As the combined market capitalization of stocks thundered through $67 trillion last week and the dollar traded at its highest level in at least a decade, this month’s losses in exchange-traded products backed by gold reached $4 billion,” reports Megan Durisin for Bloomberg.
The decline in the value of gold and the corresponding ETFs comes as professional traders are trimming their exposure to the yellow metal. Data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission indicate professional speculators have reduced their gold futures exposure in three consecutive weeks, but short interest soared 44% last week, the biggest increase since August, according to Bloomberg.
Gold ETF investors remain undaunted as GLD has hauled in almost $538.3 million in new assets this month while IAU has added $16.5 million in new capital. [Gold ETFs in Style Again]
Year-to-date, GLD has seen $2.46 billion of inflows, a total exceeded by just three other ETFs. Impressively, the fund has been able to reassert its asset-gathering prowess at a time of dollar strength. GLD is up 1.5% this year, but the PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish Fund (NYSEArca: UUP) is higher by 4.3%.
Fueling the appreciating greenback, an ongoing currency war among international central banks has caused many foreign currencies to depreciate. For example, the Danish and Swedish central banks have shifted to negative interest rates this year. [Dollar ETF Rules Currency Wars]