Gold prices have jumped 25% to $1,325.5 per ounce as of the end of June.[related_stories]
During the start of the year when the equities markets saw two-digit percentage point declines, investors shifted into the gold hard asset as a safe store of wealth. In addition, once equities started rebounding, traders maintained their gold positions on the depreciating U.S. dollar and the extended low rate outlook from the Federal Reserve, betting that precious metals will continue to be a good store of wealth and also help hedge against a more volatile outlook, such as the United Kingdom’s recent referendum vote on breaking away from the European Union, or Brexit.
Meanwhile, gold miners, which have been among the worst performing assets over recent years, staged a rally on the sudden improvement in gold prices.
Looking ahead, gold bullion and miners could continue to shine as a safe-haven play in a post-Brexit world.
The Fed has signaled it would slow the pace of interest rate normalization this year – higher interest rates typically weigh on gold prices since the hard asset provide no yield and would become less attractive to higher-yielding conservative debt assets in a rising rate environment. Moreover, futures traders are even pricing in a chance that the Fed is more likely to cut interest rates than raise them.
Robust demand is also supporting the gold market. For instance, ETF flows into gold have expanded at their fastest pace since 2009. Physically backed gold ETF holdings are still one-third below the December 2012 peak, which suggest that prices can hold at about $1,200 per ounce. The SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), the largest gold-related ETF by assets, has been the most popular ETF play of 2016, attracting $12.2 billion in net inflows as of the end of June.
We might still see more out of the emerging markets as demand has not been as robust in the developing world. For instance, China has shown little demand, with the Shanghai Gold Exchange seeing muted growth in volume. While the higher prices may have deterred Asian buyers, demand could pick up if people expect prices to remain elevated.
For more information on the Gold ETFs, visit our Gold category.