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Geopolitical Risks in Focus



Geopolitical Risks in Focus

ETF Securities Commodity ETP Weekly Geopolitical Risks in Focus

Dovish outlook causes gold bears to trim exposure.

Profit taking prompts ETFS Physical Silver (PHAG) outflows after 7.9% weekly rally.

Long WTI ETPs witness first weekly outflows in six months.


Conflict in Yemen, Iranian nuclear talks and Greek debt negotiations will mean geopolitical risks are likely to dominate headlines and keep investor risk appetite subdued. As a result, asset price volatility will remain elevated, as illustrated last week by the impact of Saudi Arabia’s military actions, which sent the price of crude soaring. Towards the end of the week, investor attention will turn to US payroll data due, hoping to gain a better indication of the pace of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Dovish outlook causes gold bears to trim exposure. Fed chair Yellen’s speech last week highlighted the gradual nature of the tightening cycle when it begins later in 2015. This has kept the US Dollar relatively subdued and precious metals prices supported as rate hike expectations continued to be pushed back – a process that began after the latest FOMC meeting. The gold price ended the week up 3.2% at US$1,199/oz, just below the important US$1,200/oz psychological level. The rally prompted US$109mn to exit ETFS Daily Short Gold (SBUL) as positive sentiment caused investors to reduce short gold exposure. Gold is likely to be supported by rising volatility in coming months, as investors dissect economic indicators to discern the start of the tightening cycle – currently expected at the September FOMC meeting.

Profit taking prompts ETFS Physical Silver (PHAG) outflows after 7.9% weekly rally. Silver followed gold higher last week as geopolitical concerns coupled with a relatively dovish tone from the US Federal Reserve about the pace and timing of rate hikes, boosted the demand for precious metals. Precious metals typically become an attractive alternative during periods of low interest rates and any perceived delays to rate normalisation in the US will act as a bullish factor for the complex. PHAG saw a net weekly redemption of US$7mn following the price rally, as investors locked in profits. This year silver has performed well rising 7.3% and has attracted of inflows US$70.7mn into ETPs providing long exposure.

Long WTI ETPs witness first weekly outflows in six months. US crude rallied 17% last week encouraging profit taking by investors with long exposure. The rally, initially instigated by Dollar depreciation. was assisted by Saudi led airstrikes launched in Yemen against the Houthi rebels, after the internationally recognised Yemeni president made pleas for assistance. Although Yemen produces relatively little oil, the bombings raised fears that the conflict would escalate between oil rich Saudi Arabia and Iran, which is believed to have provided arms, training and financial support to rebel forces. Long WTI ETPs, until now, had experienced the longest streak of net weekly inflows (25) since inception as investors positioned themselves for a recovery in oil prices. Last week, a total of US$50.1mn exited long oil ETPs, including US$26mn from ETFS Daily Leveraged WTI Crude Oil (LOIL), the largest net weekly outflow since 2011.

Key events to watch this week. 
Market focus will be on US payroll data due on Friday, as investors continue to try and preempt the pace of rate hikes in the US. Geopolitical risks will continue to remain in the fore as the deadline for an Iranian nuclear deal approaches and the impasse over a Greek debt deal lingers. Precious metals investors will be monitoring Eurozone CPI, which will likely reveal the ECB still has much to do to help boost inflationary pressures via strengthening demand.

Video Presentation

Joshpreet Tiwana, Research Analyst at ETF Securities provides an analysis of last week’s performance, flow and trading activity in commodity exchange traded products and a look at the week ahead.

Important Information

This communication has been provided by ETF Securities (UK) Limited (”ETFS UK”) which is authorised and regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority.

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