Profit taking returned to the gold market on Monday following three weeks in a row of gains as the outcome of the Greek election and a stronger dollar put further pressure on the metal.
In healthy volumes on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery – the most active contract – slid to $1,280 an ounce, down $12 or nearly 1% from Friday’s close. Silver’s stellar run also came to a halt on Monday with March contracts falling nearly 2% to below $18.00 an ounce.
After two years of large-scale liquidation by investors in exchange traded funds backed by physical gold and silver, many precious metal bulls are now returning to the market in numbers.
The last two week saw a the biggest jump in holdings in the dozens of gold-backed ETFs listed around the globe since October 2012 – the run up to the all-time record of 2,632 tonnes reached in December that year.
New inflows of 23 tonnes last week (topping the figure of the week before) saw total holdings increase to 1,645.1 tonnes. At the start of the year holdings declined to a low of 1,595.6 tonnes – levels last seen April 2009.
SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEARCA: GLD) – the world’s largest gold ETF holding more than 40% of the total – enjoyed another day of net additions on Monday with another 1.8 tonnes packed into vaults.
After a bad start to 2015 when GLD holdings fell to the lowest since September 2008 – the time of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the global financial crisis – the fund is now in the black for 2015 to the tune of 34.3 tonnes.
Inflows into gold ETFs come at the same time as hedge funds raise bullish bets on gold futures to 2-year high.
Redemptions returned to physical silver-backed ETFs last week however with 133.5 tonnes leaving vaults. Total holdings have fallen back to 19,318 tonnes, well below record levels in October of 20,182 tonnes.