The SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), the largest bullion-backed exchange traded fund in the world, is off to a solid start to 2016 and while GLD and rival gold ETFs have a long way to go to snap out of what has become a lengthy bear market, momentum is building for gold.

Speculation of higher interest rates weighed on gold ETFs last year, but traders have lowered expectations for multiple rate hikes this year. Even if rates rose a couple basis points, the continued low rate environment is good for gold, which does not pay a yield and would struggle to compete with yield-generating assets when rates rise. Making matters worse for gold ETFs are expectations for soft near-term demand at a time of year when gold demand is usually strong. [Doubters in Gold Rally]

But volatile global equity markets this year have prompted investors to reevaluate safe-have investments, bolstering gold in the process.

“The idea that inflation is a necessary condition for higher gold prices may explain why gold sellers like Peter Schiff continue to make Rube-Goldberg-ian arguments for why inflation will rise, even as they simultaneously and somewhat contradictorily argue that the U.S. economy is in a recession (contradictory because most people would not pay higher prices for the same goods in a worse economy, which is why inflation and economic growth generally rise together),” reports Alex Rosenberg for CNBC.

Investors pulled $2.2 billion from GLD, the world’s largest bullion-backed ETF last year, after pulling $3.2 billion from the fund in 2014. To start 2016, the trend of gold ETF outflows is abating as investors have poured more than $956 million into GLD.

“If the gold price could build a base around current levels above $1,100, the market should remain in an uptrend for several weeks,” according to Mining.com.

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