Divergent flows in oil and precious metals – Weekly Flows Analysis
- Gold and silver ETPs continue to see inflows while profit-taking drives oil ETP outflows
- Investors take profit on sugar and coffee as gains could be transitory
- Investors look to the Fed meeting this week for clues on future rate hikes.
Gold demand rises with Fed procrastination and Brexit hedging. The Fed is unlikely to raise rates this week according to Fed Fund Futures. Gold reacted positively, gaining a further 4.2% last week as Janet Yellen’s speech virtually confirmed that position. Inflows into gold ETPs increased to US$71.5mn as investors to seek to protect themselves from rising inflation. Cumulative inflows into gold in the first 23 weeks of the year of over US$2bn, mark the strongest flows since inception. Recent polls have indicated that the “leave” camp is marginally outweighing the “remain” camp in the forthcoming UK referendum on EU membership. Demand for gold as a haven asset has risen in light of the potential disruption that the spectre of the UK leaving the EU would cause. Although betting odds provide a better indication of the the outcome (which indicates UK will remain) investors appear to be hedging against worst-case outcomes using gold.
Silver rides higher on gold’s coat-tails. Silver, often viewed as a leveraged play on gold, rose 6.7% last week and silver ETPs saw US$10.3mn of inflows. The gold-silver ratio still remains elevated at 74, considerably above the low of 30 reached in 2011, indicating that silver remains cheap relative to gold. A cyclical recovery driven by continued policy easing by the world’s major central banks will bode well for silver demand as more than 55% of silver’s consumption is from industrial applications. With silver being a by-product of mining for other metals, the deep capex cuts across the mining space is likely to drive another year of a supply deficit in silver.
Investors continue to take profit on oil. Brent rose over US$52/bbl mid last week. A further US$60.8mn was withdrawn from long oil ETPs, marking the ninth consecutive week of outflows, as investors took profit on their gains. Oil prices could face resistance close to US$55/bbl as drilled but uncompleted wells in the US come back on stream. Price weakness maybe temporary as tight oil wells deplete quickly and the spectre of a global supply deficit in Q3 appears realistic as unplanned outages are elevated and the shadow of capex cuts last year bite into supply.
Coffee and sugar rallies drive profit-taking. Unseasonal rain in Brazil has been cited as one of the reasons that coffee and sugar prices rose 8.9% and 9.2% last week. However, we are very early in the harvest and it is likely any field delays can be made up for. The rally in these agricultural commodities has been closely tied to the appreciation of the Brazilian Real, which strengthened to an 11-month high against the US dollar at the appointment of a new central bank head last week. Coffee outflows of US$9mn were the most since October 2014, while sugar outflows of US$2.3mn were last surpassed in January 2016.
Key events to watch this week. Neither the Bank of England, Bank of Japan or Fed are expected to raise rates this week, but investors will poised for cues for further rate moves based on the latter’s summary of economic projections and press conference.
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