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In a Rough Year, Gold ETFs Gained Assets Thanks to Fed

This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

Gold-backed exchange traded products, including the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) , iShares Gold Trust (IAU) and  Aberdeen Standard Phys SwissGold Shr ETF (SGOL) , were pinched by the strong dollar last year.

In 2018, GLD and rival gold ETFs lost an average of almost 2%, but around the world, investors still embraced gold ETFs.

“Gold-backed exchange-traded funds ended 2018 with new inflows globally as uncertainty about Britain’s exit from the EU drove investors to the perceived safety of European-backed ETFs, more than offsetting outflows in North America resulting from a strong U.S. dollar,” reports Reuters.

For its part, GLD, the world’s largest gold-backed ETF, gained just over 5% in the last month of 2018. Given the heightened uncertainty, money managers have taken on their most bullish position on gold in half a year while gold holdings in physically backed ETFs are on the rise.

Related: Top 34 Gold ETFs

Recent Upside for Gold

Recently, gold has been benefiting from speculation that the Federal Reserve will slow its pace of interest rate hikes in 2019. Higher interest rates damp the allure of gold because bullion does not offer interest or coupon payments. Additionally, some market observers believe the dollar is poised to decline this year after ranking as one of 2018’s best-performing major currencies.

Last year, however, gold ETFs listed in North America lost assets.

“North American gold-backed ETFs experienced outflows in 2018, as gold prices weakened during the third quarter, the World Gold Council said. Holdings in North American gold-backed ETFs declined 1.3 percent by 13.4 tonnes worth $667.4 million,” reports Reuters.

Related: ETF of the Week: SPDR Gold Shares (GLD)

With some market observers betting the U.S. dollar will retreat in 2019, there is some renewed enthusiasm for gold and the related ETFs. Some believe that strong fundamentals may continue to support gold prices beyond safe-haven buys in the year ahead.

“In December alone, gold-backed ETFs globally rose 3 percent, adding 76 tonnes worth $3.1 billion, for a third-straight month of net inflows, largely driven by North American and European investment, World Gold Council data showed,” according to Reuters.

For more information on the gold markets, visit our gold category .

Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of GLD.