Weekly Flows Analysis – Industrial metals enjoying a renaissance
- Industrial metals are enjoying a renaissance with the last four weeks inflows the largest since late 2014
- Gold saw outflows of US$66m, the first meaningful outflow since the beginning of the year
- Oil outflows following the Doha OPEC summit totalled US$78m, representing the largest since April 2015
Cyclical commodities, such as industrial metals are enjoying a renaissance with the last four weeks of inflows being the largest since late 2014. Despite the China GDP data print at 6.7% year-on-year, other indicators, such as industrial output, retail sales and first quarter fixed asset investment all beat forecasts providing further signs that Chinas economy is stabilising. China industrial output and industrial metal prices are closely correlated. The recent strength in Chinese data is good news for industrial metals and is likely to support prices, particularly given that most industrial metals are trading well below marginal cost of production. Industrial metals saw inflows of US$60m last week (11% of AuM).
Gold saw outflows of US$66m, the first meaningful outflow since the beginning of the year. However, this outflow only represents 3.7% of the year-to-date inflows which remain at US$1.76bn. After strong price appreciation since the beginning of the year, some investors have decided to take profits. We believe the fair value of gold is US$1250. Silver continues to see inflows (US$11m last week).
Oil outflows following the Doha OPEC summit totalled US$78m, representing the largest since April 2015. Initially there was disappointment from the market that a deal with Iran on a production freeze was not agreed. This was short-lived due to fears over the Kuwait oil strike impacting a substantial 1mbpd supply. Despite the strike only lasting one day, the oil price continued to rise throughout the week, perhaps based on vague rumours of OPEC re-initiating production freeze discussions. Year-to-date performance of oil peaked at 20% mid-week, marking the best performing energy related commodity, thus the recent outflows are likely to represent profit taking. Inflows year-to-date remain high at US$965m.
We believe the potential scaling-up of Iran’s production is unlikely to have much impact on global supply in the short-term with global supply likely falling into deficit in Q3-Q4 2016. Oil has moved into backwardation in the front month, the first time since June 2014, highlighting the flattening of the futures curve, the rest of the curve remains in contango.
Key events to watch this week. Key focus is on the US housing market: new home sales and Case-Shiller house prices are published along with durable goods orders which could influence commodity demand. The Federal Reserve (Fed) rate decision is on Wednesday evening and we don’t expect any change in policy especially as there is no press conference or economic projections provided this meeting. Core PCE, an important benchmark for the Fed is published later in the week, although consensus expectations are for a relatively low print.
James Butterfill, Head of Research & Investment Strategy 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.
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This communication has been provided by ETF Securities (UK) Limited (”ETFS UK”) which is authorised and regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority.