By Morgane Delledonne, Associate Director – Fixed Income Strategist
Investors reduced gold holdings as geopolitical tensions abate. President Trump’s unclear commitment to pro-growth policies weaken the US dollar. Oil ETPs saw outflows continue for fifth consecutive week. Investors take profits on strong year-to-date emerging market local bonds performance.
We saw US$107mn of outflows from our gold ETPs as geopolitical tensions eased. US July retail sales and the Empire Manufacturing Index for August surprised to the upside and resulted in a strengthening of the US dollar and rising US bond yields last week, while putting downward pressures on the gold. Gold price pared losses in the later course of the week while the US dollar shed some of its gains amid concern about outlook for President Donald Trump’s administration. President Trump’s announced that two business advisory councils were to shut down. On Friday, gold price rose on higher demand for safe haven assets after the two terrorist attacks in Barcelona.
Short USD inflows increase after FOMC minutes revealed no consensus at the Fed. The minutes of the latest meeting of the FOMC reflected the lack of consensus within the Fed on the conduct of next monetary policy actions. In addition, the unclear commitments of Trump’s administration around pro-growth policy also lent weaknesses to the US dollar. Last week inflows into short USD-long EUR ETPs rose by US$3.6mn, despite ECB’s concern about the strength of the euro as revealed in the minutes of the July meeting. In aggregate there were US$13.3mn of inflows into short USD ETPs since the beginning of the month.
Oil ETP outflows continue for 5th consecutive week, totalling US$214mn on the month. Investors have withdrawn US$17.9mn from long oil ETPs, probably taking profits as crude prices are still up nearly 7.8% over the past month. US crude production rose to a two-year high of 9,502 thousand barrels per day according to Energy Information Administration data on Wednesday, partly offsetting the efforts of the OPEC countries to scale down the global glut. We expect oil to continue to trade between US$40-55/bbl.
Outflows from Emerging Market government bond ETPs after four weeks of consecutive inflows. We saw US$21.5mn of outflows this week, while year-to-date inflows into emerging market debt ETPs remain elevated at US$63.7mn. After gains in local government bonds of around 11% this year, investors are taking profit from the strong performance of EM debt in local currency since January in anticipation of a stronger US dollar that could challenge EM assets.