Last Friday, the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) and the iShares Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU) lost over $302 million in combined assets. That is just one day of data, but it underscores just how much investors dislike bullion right now.
“Hedge funds are holding the first ever bet on a decline in gold prices since the U.S. government started collecting the data in 2006. The funds and other speculators shifted to a net-short position of 11,345 contracts in New York futures and options in the week ended July 21, according to figures from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission,” reports Joe Deaux for Bloomberg.
Gold futures and physically-backed ETFs have been pressure this year amid speculation the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates, which has pushed the dollar higher. Higher interest rates would diminish gold’s attractiveness since the precious metal does not pay interest like fixed-income assets.
GLD and IAU have lost more than 6% over the month and reside at five-year lows. Demand for gold in China is faltering and there is concern India will not be able to pick up the slack.
According to the World Gold Council, India imported 891.5 tons of gold last year while demand was 811.1 metric tons. The council believes consumption will increase to between 900 tons and 1,000 tons this year. [India Unlikely to Stem Gold’s Decline]