While the equity market suffers through wild swings, precious metals and related ETFs have their moment in the spotlight.

“The return of equity volatility in 2018 continues to push investors to reposition their portfolios. Investors have flocked back to gold as a potential hedge against volatility and particularly have sought shelter through gold exchange traded funds,” Maxwell Gold, director of investment strategy at ETF Securities, said in a note.

Gold ETFs accumulated a record 85.5 million ounces of gold globally back in December 2012 but saw a 76% drawdown in holdings over the following three years, hitting a low of 48.7 million ounces held. The drawdown was triggered by a fall-off in gold prices and caused many investors to ditch their gold exposure, but the trend reversed in 2016. Gold investors are now less speculative and more long-term strategic holders.

Related: Biggest Gold ETF Nets $1B in 2018 Inflows

There has been a recent uptick in interest for gold, especially in March when gold ETFs experienced nearly 20 metric tons of net inflows, putting global gold ETF holdings 20% below their 2012 peak.

“Year to date gold ETFs have increased holdings another 2% and steady inflows may continue to support the current trend higher in gold prices,” Gold said.

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