Geopolitical Concerns Are Good News for Gold ETFs

Gold exchange traded products, including the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), iShares Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU) and ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (NYSEArca: SGOL), have been among this year’s most durable commodities exchange traded funds. That trend could continue if geopolitical concerns prompt investors to move to safer assets.

Gold’s recent bullishness is impressive when considering that the Federal Reserve raised interest rates earlier this month, setting the stage for two more rate hikes later this year. However, the yellow metal has been boosted by the dollar’s disappointing showing this year.

Gold has enjoyed greater demand in a low interest-rate environment as the hard asset becomes more attractive to investors compared to yield-bearing assets. However, traders lose interest in gold when rates rise since the bullion does not produce a yield.

“Gallied to its highest level in five months in Wednesday trading, gaining over $9 per ounce in the session as tension mounted around the world. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday at a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that U.S.-Russia relations were “at a low point,” and called for improvement after the U.S. missile astrikes in Syria last week,” reports CNBC.

Indian demand is vital for gold because the country is the second-largest buyer of the yellow metal behind China. India, one of the world’s largest gold consumers, could be set to lower its import tax on bullion, which could be major catalyst for gold prices. Still, emerging market demand for gold has not picked up yet. For instance, China has shown little demand, with the Shanghai Gold Exchange seeing little growth in volume.

“Indeed, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to a five-month low on Wednesday, while the yield on the two-year note also declined, along with the value of the Udollar. Bullion is highly sensitive to U.S. interest rates, which raise the opportunity cost of holding nonyielding, dollar-denominated gold,” according to CNBC.

Investors are displaying some enthusiasm for gold ETFs. For example, SGOL has added nearly $5.6 million in new assets this year. GLD, the world’s largest gold ETF, has seen year-to-date inflows $874.2 million in new capital.

Gold prices could move modestly higher with some help from emerging markets, namely China and India. However, the dollar has recently retreated in noticeable fashion, helping aid gold’s ascent along the way.

For more information on the gold market, visit our gold category.

Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of GLD.

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