John Paulson’s Paulson & Co. hedge, long one of the largest holders of the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), trimmed its position in the physically-backed gold exchange traded fund during the second quarter, helping the firm avoid additional losses as bullion swooned in July.
The hedge fund “cut its stake in SPDR Gold Trust by 1 million shares to 9.2 million shares worth $1.04 billion in the quarter ending June 30, according to the 13F-HR filing. The sharp reduction came as SPDR holdings fell by 3.5 percent in the quarter, with holdings falling another 6 percent from the end of June to the lowest since 2008 this week at 21.5 million ounces,” reports Reuters.
Without Asian consumers buying up gold, global demand for the precious metal has dipped to a six-year low. Gold prices were pressured after the World Gold Council revealed global gold demand dropped 12% to a six-year low of 914.9 tonnes. According to a report for Q2 2015, the World Gold Council found that the decline in demand from consumers across India and China outweighed a small uptick in demand in Europe and the U.S. [Gold Demand Wilts]
Central banks are also raising their positions in gold, accounting for 137 tons of demand in Q2 2015, or up 11% compared to the previous quarter. It was also the 18th consecutive quarter where central banks were net buyers.
Pauslon & Co. had not altered its stake in GLD, the world’s largest physically-backed gold ETF, for six consecutive quarters. GLD bled nearly $1 billion in assets during the second quarter and year-to-date, the ETF is lighter by almost $1.2 billion.