Strong inflows into commodity ETPs indicate that commodities are once again an appealing asset class for investors. Inflows into both broad baskets and individual commodities indicate the breadth of interest….
– Underpinning new commodity optimism in the sector is large cuts to capital spending in mining, smelting and drilling which should restrict the supply of commodities, helping to lift price.
– Not all investors are bullish as indicated by the flows into gold and short commodity ETPs, as investors remain somewhat polarised on the outlook for global growth.
Inflows into commodity baskets rose to a 16-month high. After spending the last few years as a neglected asset class, commodities are making a come-back in investor portfolios. Inflows last week into ETFS Longer Dated All Commodities GO UCITS ETF (COMF) of US$ 26.2mn, ETFS EUR Daily Hedged All Commodities DJUBS EDSM (EALL) of US$8.6mn and ETFS Ex Agriculture and Livestock (XFRM) of US$5.7mn bought flows into diversified baskets to the highest level since July 2014. Baskets are typically popular with investors that have a long/medium term bullish outlook on the sector as a whole without taking a specific call on individual commodities. Underpinning new optimism in the sector is large cuts to capital spending in mining, smelting and drilling which should restrict the supply of commodities, helping to lift price. While developing market manufacturing purchasing manager indices (PMIs) appear subdued, their developed market counterparts remain resilient. German, US, Euro Area and even Chinese Caixin PMIs, released last week, all came in above expectations, indicating potential upside surprise for commodity demand. A strong jobs report from the US last Friday indicates that the growth environment remains supportive enough for a rate hike. This important precondition is likely to limit the downside for commodities from rising rates.
Gold inflows rose to an 11-week high. Marking the seventh consecutive week of flows, investors continued to increase their allocation to gold. Last week’s inflows of US$82.6mn came despite gold prices falling 3.7% in the week to Thursday (-4.7% in the week to Friday) and prospects for a rising real rate environment (typically seen to cap gains for the metal). We believe that the gold inflows indicate that gold as a portfolio and monetary hedge is making a come-back. Gold as a defensive asset often
underperforms in times of cyclical bullishness, but acts as a counterweight to negative shocks. The timing of the flows indicate that some investors remain concerned about
the economic outlook and the potential for further monetary stimulus to be enacted.
Inflows of US$8.7mn into ETFS Daily Short Copper (SCOP) rise to a twoyear high. Lingering concern over the robustness of the Chinese outlook appears to be driving bearish sentiment toward industrial metals. However, the view remains polarised, with long copper ETPs receiving the first inflows in three weeks, totalling US$5mn.
Key events to watch this week. Chinese industrial production data and Euro Area GDP figures will give investors a gauge for how demand for commodities in some of the
world’s largest economies is faring, and has the potential to clear up some of the recent ambiguity in growth indicators.