Jan 21, 2019
Gold 2019 Outlook Gold had a positive return of 9.4% in 2018 2019 is looking to experience further geopolitical instability, particularly: US/China trade tension Continued uncertainty around Brexit Gold net non-commercial long contracts have been on the rise since October 2018 Does it take a market correction to see the value in gold? 2018 wrapped up in a storm of volatility. Markets up for the first three quarters and down thereafter through to late December. Consequently, leaving investors wary of what may be on the horizon. Though we have entered a fresh year, many of these volatility drivers still exist as they remain unresolved. Looking at the geopolitical landscape, 2019 is likely to present events that will continue to affect market sentiment. Trade tensions between the US and China remain, Brexit is fast approaching the original deadline and elections are upcoming in India, the EU and Australia, with all expected to play a role in shaping the year ahead. With this continued uncertainty, defensive strategies and diversification shall continue to be on the mind of many. How did Gold weather the storm? The tail of 2018 saw gold perform as a good hedge against equities. Whilst the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 7.8% from October to December end, gold netted a 9.6% gain in this same period (Figure 1), which indicates inclusion of gold into a portfolio for the period could have reduced volatility and downside risk Examining several major indices across 2018, ETFS Physical GOLD had a positive return of 9.4% whilst all major equities were in the red (Figure 2). Gold outlook for 2019 The outlook for 2019 performance will likely be impacted by a continuation of the global themes that dictated the close of 2018. In the World Gold Council’s “Outlook 2019: Economic trends and their impact on gold”, it has outlined three important drivers of gold demand: financial market instability, the impact of rates and the dollar and structural economic reforms The political instability that has enveloped the leading economies of the US and the UK is set to continue with markets responding to ongoing turmoil. The protectionist attitude of the US has encouraged inflation, with gold used by many to hedge against this. These movements have heralded a renewed interest in gold which can be seen on multiple fronts. Net positive flows into ETFs have occurred for the previous three months, though Asian markets (including Australia) have lagged Europe and America on this front. Futures have also pointed to change in sentiment towards gold. Net non-commercial long contracts have been on the rise since October 2018, reversing the downward trend seen throughout 2017 and most of 2018 (Figure 3). The bearish view of gold suggests that performance could be constrained by a strong US dollar and rising interest rates. Addressing these points; the significant price movements of the dollar in recent weeks makes the price outlook of the dollar particularly tricky to predict. Examining the relationship between gold and interest rates, these have seen a degree of positive correlation in the past although not to a particularly significant degree. Finally, economic reform is expected to continue across China and India in 2019. As the greatest consumers of physical gold (through both investment and jewellery), economic growth in these regions will likely impact the precious metal. Further economic development and particularly the increase of wealth in India and it’s growing middle class is likely to continue to drive demand. On balance key indicators that have dictated the previous performance of gold suggest that we are likely to see a continuation in the upward trend of both investment flows and price of gold. Investors wanting to access gold may be interested in the benefits of exposure through investing in gold miners’ equities. Whilst this strategy gives the potential to receive dividends it does not offer the same exposure of a physical gold ETF such as GOLD as the price changes in gold miners can be quite different from the movement of gold price. The mining industry has recently garnered attention due to large M&A movements. Significantly Goldcorp will be acquired by Newmont Mining in a US$10bn deal. Subsequent to this announcement Newmont’s share price dropped 11% overnight. For investors who are utilising gold as an event risk hedge, other factors such as M&A activity can have unexpected effects on gold miner’s share prices. Therefore, a direct exposure to physical gold will eliminate exposure to stock specific risks.
Jan 15, 2019
This week's highlights The S&P 500 returned its third straight positive weekly gain continuing a promising start to the New Year. Both ETFS S&P Biotech ETF (CURE) and Betashares Crude Oil ETF (OOO) were the top performers for the week and also the Year to Date. Geared Australian and U.S equity funds also had a strong week along with thematic ETFs ROBO and RBTZ. Looking longer term ETFS Physical Palladium (ETPMPD) ETF was the best performing ETF over the previous 12 months returning 33.9%. Domestic cash and equity products saw majority of the flows and turnover for the week and continued the trend so far for 2019. The biggest outflows for the week were for international equity exposures IEU and IVV.
Jan 08, 2019
GOLD 100% physically backed Highly recommended by Lonsec Recommended by Zenith Key features of Gold: Can materially reduce risk in portfolios The best-known hedge against the business cycle Outperformed cash since the 1800s Hedge against geopolitical events Global trends around Gold investment: Global Gold ETF investment flows have moved to positive for the first time since May 2018 Central banks have increased buying of gold to the highest level since the end of 2015 Gold is the world’s oldest financial asset and has been used for centuries in transactions and as a store of value. However, many Australian investors are hesitant to allocate assets to gold, with the lack of yield being a common concern. We believe investors should consider the role of gold in a portfolio, particularly with the recent volatility being experienced across the globe. Key features of gold 1. Gold can reduce the risk of a portfolio The most efficient portfolio is one that takes the least risk while making the highest return. Risk can be reduced by diversifying across and within asset classes based on low or negative correlations. Gold has low or negative correlations with traditional asset classes making it ideal as a risk reduction tool. 2. Gold has outperformed cash since the 1800s In a review of every major US asset class, Jeremy Siegel, a professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania, found that gold provided investors with a real return of 0.5% from 1802 to 2016. He found that while gold was beaten by bonds and equities, gold outperformed cash, with cash delivering a negative real return of -1.4%. 3. Gold acts as a hedge against geopolitical events Gold has had an historical tendency to rise during times of crisis and turbulence. This means gold can provide something like an ‘event hedge’ – or the chance to reduce the impact of ‘black swan’ type events which, while relatively uncommon, can have a strongly negative impact on a portfolio. Taking the well-known example of the GFC (below) it can be seen that the difference between gold and the equity markets one year on from the credit crisis was 35% in favour of gold. Global trends of Gold investment Recent global movements have shown many investors are reallocating to gold. On this front Australia is lagging behind global trends with other regions showing a greater propensity for an allocation to gold. We have seen this increased appetite for gold emerging on multiple fronts: Gold ETF investment flows have moved to positive for three consecutive months (October-December) with 3% growth in ETF holdings in 2018 The total value of global gold backed ETF holdings in now over $100bn for the first time since 2012 Central banks have increased their buying of gold to the highest level since the end of 2015 What does gold look like in a portfolio? To demonstrate the effect of gold in a portfolio we have simulated the past performance of a series of Vanguard “LifeStrategy” funds with and without a 10% allocation to gold. Simulations were run over a 15-year period (since inception of ETFS GOLD). These funds provide an all-in-one portfolio made of globally diversified blends of equity and bonds (proportion equities & bonds indicated in charts below). In every case, the portfolio including a 10% allocation to GOLD outperforms and has lower beta and standard deviation indicating a lower risk. Based on this it’s clear gold does exactly what it’s meant to do from an investment perspective and we believe that many Australian investors are ignoring these risk reduction properties. Conclusion Gold is the oldest known store of value and has been continuously used for this function for centuries. We have demonstrated above the key features of gold that make it an appealing option for some investors. Gold’s low and negative correlations with other asset classes have seen it perform as an effective hedge in previous bear cycles and during global geopolitical events that have negatively affected other asset classes. Simulated data also demonstrates how this diversification can function in a hypothetical portfolio to reduce risk and increase returns.
Dec 18, 2018
This week's highlights Global equities fell last week on a lower growth outlook following below expectation economic data across the regions. The S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.4% with resources being the only positive sector for the week. Resource sector ETFs (QRE and OZR) were the top performing long-only equity funds. Offshore, the S&P 500 fell 1.3%, with financials being hit hardest. The Nikkei 225 fell 1.4%, while the EURO STOXX 50 gained 1.1%. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields rose 4 basis points and the U.S. dollar gained against most majors. The Australian dollar ended the week lower at US71.72c. Pound sterling continued to decline on further Brexit uncertainty. Precious metals pulled-back, with gold down 0.8% to US$1,239/ounce. Palladium continued its run up and is now close to 50% above its August low. ETFS Physical Palladium (ETPMPD) returned 2.7% for the week. Crude oil fell 2.7% for the week, while the broad Bloomberg Commodity Index dropped 2.7%. The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $164m into and outflows of $106m from domestically domiciled funds last week. The largest flows were into BetaShares Australia 200 ETF (A200), iShares Treasury ETF (IGB) and iShares S&P/ASX 200 ETF (IOZ).
Dec 11, 2018
This week's highlights Global equities declined last week on growth expectations and spiralling U.S.-China trade tensions. The S&P 500 fell 4.6%, with financials being hit hardest; BetaShares Global Banks ETF (BNKS) fell 5.2% for the week. The EURO STOXX 50 dropped 3.6% as a key week in the Brexit process approaches. The Nikkei 225 fell 3.0%. Domestically, the S&P/ASX 200 ended up on positive territory, up 0.3%. Property funds (MVA and SLF) were the top domestic funds for the week. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell 14 basis points on lower growth expectations. Similarly Australian 10-year yields fell 15 basis points. The Australian dollar ended the week 1.3% lower at US72.08c. Pound sterling fell for a fourth consecutive week and approached its lowest levels since June 2017. Precious metals advanced, with gold up 2.4% to US$1,249/ounce. Palladium briefly topped gold as the most valuable precious metal and ETFS Physical Palladium (ETPMPD) is clearly the year's top performing ETF to date, returning 23.4% in 2018. Crude oil also gained, adding 3.3% following OPEC's agreement to cut production by more than originally anticipated. The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $120m into and outflows of $12m from domestically domiciled funds last week. The largest flows were into BetaShares Australia 200 ETF (A200) and a range of international equity funds (WDMF, NDQ and IHVV).
Dec 03, 2018
This week's highlights U.S. equities rallied strongly last week on Fed comments that interest rates are approaching equilibrium and a truce in the trade dispute with China. The S&P 500 gained 4.9%, led higher by IT and healthcare stocks. ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF (TECH) was the top performing unleveraged ETF for the week, returning 6.5%. NDQ returned 5.4%, while global healthcare fund DRUG returned 5.0%. Elsewhere the EURO STOXX 50 added 1.1% and the Nikkei 225 gained 3.3%. Domestically, the S&P/ASX 200 fell by 0.9% with the biggest declines being in the mining sector. QRE and OZR were both amongst the poorest performers for the week. The Australian dollar ended the week 1.0% stronger at US73.06c. U.S. Treasury yields pulled back as rate hike expectations tapered. Crude oil halted its recent slide, gaining 1.0% for the week as expectations of an OPEC production cut firmed. Gold fell slightly to US$1,221/ounce, while platinum declined 5.4%. The broad Bloomberg Commodities Index gained 1.3%. The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $349m into and outflows of $101m from domestically domiciled funds last week. The largest flows were into and out of broad based domestic and international equity funds.