Oct 09, 2019
Published: 10th October 2019 Product in Focus: ETFS Battery Tech & Lithium ETF Key Points Bloomberg New Energy Finance predict that global lithium-ion battery demand will grow 8-fold by 2030. Over 2 million electric vehicles were sold in 2018, accounting for less than 2% of global passenger vehicle sales. Sales forecasts are estimated to rise to 56 million by 2040. ACDC aims to provide investors with exposure to growth across the entire battery technology value-chain, including lithium miners and energy storage companies. Recent years have seen significant developments in lithium-ion battery power output and efficiency. Lighter and smaller batteries with increased output and falling prices have opened-up a wide range of new applications. These have already had big impacts on the consumer electronics market. The next step in the evolution of the battery technology industry is in larger scale applications. Electric vehicles for private and mass transportation, aided by the emergence of autonomous vehicle technologies and the rapid reductions in charging times. Further, use of lithium-ion batteries is promoting the growth of renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind, which are now able be consumed on demand and not only at the right times, or when weather permits. ETFS Battery Tech & Lithium ETF (ASX Code: ACDC) aims to provide investors with exposure to growth across the entire battery technology value-chain, from lithium miners to energy storage companies across a range of established and emerging companies. This note looks at the key areas driving growth across this quickly developing industry and highlights the operations of several selected companies to provide real-world examples of technological developments and how they are being monetised. Lithium – exploring the supply and demand outlooks Forecasts complied by Bloomberg New Energy Finance predict that global lithium-ion battery demand will grow 8-fold by 2030. This will have a significant impact on demand for lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) and other core metals, such as copper, aluminium and nickel as well as rare earth metals, such as cobalt. China maintains a dominant position in the supply-chain through both its control of mining companies and its dominance of refining capacity. Electric vehicle demand is anticipated to be the core growth driver over the coming decades, with passenger EVs dominating. Current forecasts point to a supply surplus out to at least 2025, which has been reflected in recent price action. As shown in figure 3, lithium prices have been in decline for the past 15 months, following a three-year bull-run during which prices trebled. Stock in Focus: Albemarle Corp Stock Code: ALB Albemarle is the world’s largest producer of LCE and a pioneer in the development of brine production processes that are commonly used today. Products include lithium metal as ingots, foil, rods and anodes, high purity lithium alloys, lithium salts and lithium sulphide, all of which have battery-related applications. One of its stated aims is to provide materials and to support the growth and success of lithium-ion technology to promote advances in mobile communication, power storage and electric mobility. Production and storage sites are located in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia, while Albemarle’s customer base is spread across more than 100 countries. Source: www.albemarle.com Financial information as at 30 Sep 2019: Electric vehicles Over 2 million electric vehicles were sold in 2018, which represents significant growth from a low base, but accounts for less than 2% of global passenger vehicle sales. Forecasts compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance indicate accelerating growth over the coming decades with sales to rise to 10 million in 2025, 28 million in 2030 and 56 million by 2040. By the mid-2020s electric vehicle sales are expected to reach parity with internal combustion vehicles, at which point 30% of passenger vehicles on our roads will be electric. Stock in Focus: BYD Stock Code: 1211 BYD is a Chinese manufacturer of passenger vehicles, mass transit vehicles and battery technology and is heavily backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which holds a 25% stake. China currently represents around 60% of the global electric vehicle market, with over 600,000 fully electric vehicles sold in the first half of 2019. BYD is the largest Chinese producer, with market share currently running at close to 25%. BYD’s market share has increased in 2019 to-date, despite a slowing in the Chinese market as a result of the removal of subsidies. 63% of BYD’s revenue is currently generated by electric vehicles. Aside from passenger vehicles, BYD is currently a major supplier of electric busses, with government contracts across Asia, Europe and North and South America. BYD is also investing in large-scale battery storage projects. Source: www.byd.com, Bloomberg New Energy Finance Financial information as at 30 Sep 2019: Grid storage batteries The electric power sector has seen significant disruption from renewable sources in recent years, with wind, solar and other sources quickly becoming more economically viable relative to fossil fuel sources in many markets. Component costs are falling and efficiency is rising but improvements in battery technology have been the key to releasing these technologies and allowing them to meet consumer demand at times when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts 50% of world electricity output to be wind and solar generated by 2050 and that this transformation will require heavy investment in battery technology. There are numerous competing battery types and new technologies under development. Examples include flow batteries, lead-carbon, sodium-sulphur and compressed-air energy storage. Lithium-ion, however, is the established technology of choice and currently accounts for 85% of commissioned, utility-scale battery storage worldwide. Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance “New Energy Outlook 2019” Stock in Focus: GS YUASA Stock Code: 6674 GS Yuasa is a Japanese company that manufactures and sells automotive batteries, industrial batteries, power supply systems and other electrical equipment. They are a leader in lithium-ion technology and provide a range of storage solutions for renewable and reserve power applications. The company is involved in multiple large-scale energy storage projects including constructing one of the world’s largest lithium-ion batteries, to be connected to a wind energy plant in North Hokkaido, Japan. The battery will have an output of 240MW and a capacity of 720WMh, which is equivalent to 45,000 electric vehicles. Source: www.gs-yuasa.com Financial information as at 30 Sep 2019: About ACDC ACDC tracks the Solactive Battery Value-Chain Index, which aims to capture the performance of companies that are providers of electro-chemical storage technology and mining companies that produce metals that are primarily used for manufacturing of lithium batteries. Companies comprising the Index are determined by reference to: 1. The U.S. Department of Energy's DOE Global Energy Storage Database, which identifies companies that are electro-chemical storage technology providers; and 2. Metal Bulletin, which identifies mining companies that produce lithium. Constituents are equally weighted to provide maximum diversification. ACDC currently holds 29 stocks from seven countries with sector allocations heavily in favour of the Industrials, Materials and Consumer Discretionary sectors.
Oct 08, 2019
This week's highlights Asian stocks rallied last week, with IZZ, ITW, ASIA, IAA and IKO all amongst the top performing funds for the week. Technology stocks also rebounded, with HACK returning 2.7% for the week and TECH being the top performing fund of the ETF Securities’ range. Domestic equity ETFs were amongst the week’s poorest performers, led by bank-focused funds (MVB, OZF and QFN). Gold posted a moderate gain for the week, rising above US$1,500 per ounce, while platinum declined more than 5%. Oil also pulled-back, with OOO down 5.6%. Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $182m, while outflows totalled $98m. Domestic equity funds saw both the largest inflows (A200 and IOZ) and the largest outflows (STW). GOLD saw A$12m of inflows, while the remainder of flows were into a range of equity and fixed income funds. STW was the most traded fund last week, followed by other broad-based domestic funds (VAS and IOZ). VAP saw above average trading volumes.
Oct 01, 2019
This week's highlights ETFS Reliance India Nifty 50 ETF (NDIA) was the top performing Australian ETF last week, returning 2.4%, as the Indian market continued to rally on the back of corporate tax cuts. IIND returned 1.9%. Global and domestic property funds (REIT, DJRE and MVA) were also amongst the week’s top performers. Asian equities (CNEW, ASIA, IKO, CETF and IZZ) all posted negative returns. U.S. healthcare stocks were also hit, with ETFS S&P Biotech ETF (CURE) down 7.5%. Gold declined moderately for the week, while gold mining ETFs (GDX and MNRS) posted bigger drops. ETFS Physical Palladium (ETPMPD) continued to rally. Oil pulled-back from last week’s gains, with OOO down 3.8%. Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $321m, while outflows totalled just $1m. Inflows were dominated by domestic equities funds (A200, STW, IOZ and QOZ). Cash and fixed income ETFs (AAA, IAF, HBRD, CRED and QPON) also saw flows. STW was the most traded fund last week, followed by other broad-based domestic funds (VAS, A200, and IOZ). VHY saw above average trading volumes.
Sep 24, 2019
This week's highlights Oil rallied strongly following an attack on Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure. OOO returned 6.1% for the week. Gold returned to positive territory, having taken a breather over recent weeks, while palladium (ETPMPD) continued to reach new all-time highs. Gold mining funds (GDX and MNRS) were amongst the weeks’ top performers. The U.S. dollar strengthened last week, with the Australian dollar falling more than 1c to U.S. 67.66c. YANK was amongst the week’s top performing ETFs, while AUDS was the poorest performer for the week. Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $163m, while outflows totalled $65m. The biggest inflows were into domestic equities (STW, MVW and A200), gold (GOLD), and fixed income (IAF, CRED, HBRD). Outflows were from Australian financial sector stocks (QFN) and U.S. equities (IVV). VAS was the most traded fund last week, followed by STW. QFN traded above average volumes, while GOLD continued to be in strong demand. ETFS Reliance India Nifty 50 ETF (NDIA) returned 3.4% for the week, including a 6.2% jump on Friday as the Modi government cut the basic corporate tax rate from 30% to 22% to stimulate economic growth.
Sep 17, 2019
This week's highlights A cooling in trade tensions, strong U.S. economic data and stimulus from the ECB contributed to a risk-on sentiment last week. Financial sector funds (BNKS and MVB) and high conviction growth funds such as RBTZ, ROBO and ACDC all performed strongly. Asia-focused funds HJPN and IKO were also amongst the top performers. The week’s best performing ETF was Vanguard Global Value Equity Active ETF (VVLU), which returned 5.8%. Gold fell for a second consecutive week, with GOLD and PMGOLD, as well as gold mining funds (GDX and MNRS) all amongst the weeks’ poorest performers. Silver (ETPMAG) also declined, while palladium (ETPMPD) pushed-ahead to new all-time highs above US$1,600 per ounce. Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $308m, while outflows totalled $134m. The biggest inflows were into cash (AAA), domestic equities (STW and IOZ) and gold (GOLD). Outflows were from U.S. equities (IVV) and Australian government bonds (IGB). AAA was the most traded fund last week, though the combined volume of IVV and IHVV made S&P 500 the most traded index exposure for the week. GOLD continued to trade above average volumes. ETFS ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF (ROBO) returned 4.1% for the week, led higher by strong performances across the Industrial and Information Technology sectors in the U.S., Japan and Germany.
Sep 10, 2019
Published: 10th September 2019 Product in Focus: ETFS Physical Silver Key Points Silver has historically performed in a similar way to gold 50% of silver is used in industrial applications including solar cells and automotive electrics A supply shortage of silver may impact price in the future MER: 0.49% p.a. Silver has become increasingly interesting to many investors. Not only does it exhibit similar properties to it more popular brother, gold, but it also has a much wider application in industry which gold doesn’t have. As such, for strictly investment purposes, silver has historically performed in a similar way to gold, but also has further support from industrial manufacturing demand and applications. Investors should consider this precious metal if they want exposure to an asset that, historically, benefits from both investment and non-investment demand. Non-Investment Demand Non-Investment demand comprises about 50% of silver demand. This can be split into four categories, seen in the table below. For this note we focus on the industrial and technological aspects. Additionally, we briefly look at the supply deficit in silver, which should provide a support for silver prices. Demand Driver Million ounces Percentage (%) Industrial and technological (including solar, automotive, brazing and soldering) 593 52 Jewellery 204 18 Bar and coin 193 17 Silverware 60 (approx.) 5 Source: GFMS, Refinitov/Silver Institute, 31 July 2019 Industrial and Technological Demand The industrial and technological use of silver is integral to many of the current processes used in manufacturing. Crucially, it is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. David Holmes, a senior precious metals analyst from Heraues, made this comment on the growth in a conference held in London at the LBMA in late 2018. Silver’s “long-term fundamentals as industrial demand within the electronics’ sector is expected to double over the next 15 years.” Of the industrial demand drivers for price, the use of solar energy is probably the most interesting aspect. Moving forward, increased demand for silver is expected to come from the solar energy sector, since the precious metal is a great conductor of both heat and electricity, making it perfect for use in solar panels. Solar currently accounts for 2% of the world’s generated power that is expected to grow to 7% by 2030. (1) Additionally, the progressive move towards electrical vehicles will increase the use of silver in cars too. Last year, around 36 million ounces of silver were used in automobiles. Each car itself uses about half an ounce of silver but the continuing electrification of cars is set to see that increase to one ounce. To put this in context, every electrical action in a modern car is activated with silver-coated contacts. Basic functions such as starting the engine, opening power windows, adjusting power seats and closing a power trunk are all activated using a silver membrane switch. Demand Deficit Further bolstering the positive tailwinds for the silver price is the supply shortage. Until recently, this had little effect on price but, as non-investment demand makes up about 50% of silver’s overall demand, it’s hard to avoid the impact of this continuing trend of demand not being met. Investment Demand Silver’s investment demand is based on a combination of fundamental drivers but also impacted by momentum. Fundamental Fundamentally silver’s investment demand profile is almost identical to gold. Currently this is primarily based on the desire to avoid currency debasement and the need for protection from threats to investment returns like trade wars and the end of the equity cycle. As much has already been written on this in regard to gold, this note will assume good knowledge of this from the reader. Momentum Momentum is also a driver of silver. Often increased interest begets further interest, and this can either help the price of silver move up further than expected short term or serve as a strong support when there is a correction. On this, the futures market gives a good indicator of momentum via the “net speculative positions” charts. Below you can see that silver is currently net long in terms of its futures positioning, meaning that there are more buyers than sellers. On the short-term, one can see that the positioning has risen up very rapidly lately, however, crucially, it doesn’t look extended versus other periods – especially versus 2016. Furthermore, the current positioning is off the back of a period (2018 – Q1 2019) where, on several occasions, silver was in a net short position i.e. investors were betting that silver was going down. As you can see, this was the only time this was the case since 2009 and serves to reinforce the current position as not overbought. Gold/Silver Ratio Finally, there is the gold/silver ratio. Many look at this as an indicator as to whether gold is expensive relative to silver or vice versa. Currently, based on this measure, silver currently appears undervalued. For those who believe the relationship should reinstate itself, many are buying silver as well as gold. Our view at ETF Securities is that it is not entirely clear whether this relationship stands anymore, or, at least, is as strong as it once was. This is because the use of silver in a non-investment capacity has grown so much over the last decade that it is becoming equally as meaningful as the investment demand. This is in contract to gold which is much more driven by investment demand. Nonetheless, we are not saying the ratio has no value. Only that it should not be a primary driver of silver investment. Summary In summary, silver’s price is dictated by both investment and non-investment demand. Silver shares many of the same fundamental characteristics for investment demand as gold but, because it is used far more widely in manufacturing for industry and technology, its price is also dictated by non-investment demand too. Taking both into consideration in the current environment, silver’s prospects look attractive and we encourage investors to looks at this in more detail. (1) https://investingnews.com/daily/resource-investing/precious-metals-investing/silver-investing/5-factors-drive-silver-demand