Silver and Copper see Strong Inflows as ECB Easing Boosts Risk Appetite The European Central Bank’s strong policy moves announced last week to spur growth and strong US employment data added to investor confidence in the global macro outlook, boosting interest in commodities broadly and more cyclical metals in particular. The gold price also rose on news of aggressive monetary measures taken by the ECB, as the metal often trades as an alternative hard currency.
Long silver ETPs see highest inflows in 10 weeks. Inflows of US$20.9mn last week show that investor enthusiasm for the metal that usually trades in gold’s shadow is growing. With global economic growth rising, prospects for the metal, used in many industrial applications, are improving. Silver is likely to post another supply deficit this year, following last year’s trend, further tightening the market. Despite the US imposing higher tariffs against Chinese solar panel imports last week, its new climate change policy announced last week is likely to lift the demand for photovoltaics in general. Solar panels are the fastest segment of demand growth for silver fabrication, with a compound annual growth rate of 20% over the past decade and are now as significant as photography in terms of sources of silver demand.
ETFS Copper (COPA) sees $18.1mn of inflows, the highest in a month. Investors appeared to view the drop in the copper price to a month low as a good buying opportunity. The price has been weighed on by an investigation into warehousing in China’s Qingdao port that investors worry could unwind financing deals using the metal as collateral. In our view, underlying real demand for the metal in China remains robust. We expect that as negative sentiment and speculative activity subsides, investors will again focus on tightening supply-demand fundamentals and continue to target a copper price of around US$7,500/tonne.
Gold ETPs see the biggest outflows since September 2013 as investors continue to rotate into more cyclical assets. Although the gold price rose on Thursday following the ECB’s decision to cut interest rates and press on with other monetary easing measures, the gold price ended the week lower as markets focused on the potential for further US dollar strength. In our view, however, with positioning already heavily negative gold, the gold price now trading near its marginal cost of production and developed market equity markets looking heavily stretched, we view the gold price as these levels as relatively cheap insurance against the possibility the current consensus positive macro views are wrong.
Profit taking drives US$15.8mn out of ETFS Aluminium (ALUM). Marking the largest outflow since November 2013. Aluminium has been the best performing industrial metal this month, gaining 4.7% as China tries to address oversupply in domestic production.
ETFS Physical Palladium (PHPD) saw its largest outflow since July 2013. Taking profit on a 1.1% rise in price, palladium investors sold US$12.2mn into the rally last week. With courts having thrown out the AMCU union’s request to stop the miners communicating directly with their employees in South Africa, an end to the prolonged strike does not appear to be getting any closer.
Key events to watch this week. China’s money supply, lending and production data will be in focus as investors watch to see the impact the government’s recent stimulus measures are having on the world’s second largest economy.
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