Crude investors cut positions again, waiting for OPEC meeting
ETF Securities Weekly Flows Analysis – Crude investors cut positions again, waiting for OPEC meeting
- HighlightsCrude oil ETPs have seen 11 consecutive weeks of outflows as investors continue to take profit.
- Short US Dollar ETPs have received the largest inflows in ten weeks, totalling US$11.3mn.
- Stretched equity valuations prompt the fourth consecutive week of inflows into gold ETPs.
- Agricultural ETPs saw largest inflows in nine weeks, breaking a month long run of outflows.
Crude oil ETPs have experienced 11 consecutive weeks of outflows as investors continue to take profit. Over the past 11 weeks, investors have withdrawn US$434mn from long oil ETPs. Last week, crude oil prices lost around a third of the gains of the past month, suggesting that geopolitical risk premium is beginning to dissipate. Downward price pressure is also still being exerted by rising supply, particularly in the US. Crude production spiked to a second consecutive weekly record level (the highest since the Energy Information Agency’s data began in 1983) last week, highlighting the profitability of production at current price levels. Investors will be closely monitoring OPEC comments leading up to its end-November meeting, if the cartel does not follow through with an extension of production cuts, further downside in crude prices is likely.
Stretched equity valuations prompt the fourth consecutive week of inflows into gold ETPs. Inflows into long gold ETPs totalled US$24.1mn last week, over the past 10 weeks, there have only been two weeks of outflows and US$508mn of inflows have been recorded over that period. Uncertainty over the ability for equity markets to continue their stellar rally has led investors to look for ways to hedge a potential correction. Although we expect the Fed to continue to tighten policy, we think the downside risks to gold prices are fairly limited as real interest rates will remain depressed as inflation gains pace in the US. However, a shock event could force gold prices higher, making it an attractive defensive asset to add to a diversified portfolio.
Short US Dollar ETPs have received the largest inflows in ten weeks, totalling US$11.3mn. The vast majority of the short US Dollar ETP fund inflows were against the Euro. The market appears to be discounting the ability of the Fed to hike rates in an appropriate timeframe to counter rising inflationary pressures and engineer a steepening of the US yield curve. With 2018 being a year of change at the Fed, and the top three central bankers relinquishing their positions, there is an increased risk of a policy error. Positioning in the futures market is also stark: with the exception of the JPY, the USD remains the least favoured major currency compared to the longer-term average, with net investor positioning hovering just shy of record low levels.
Diversified agricultural ETPs received largest inflows in nine weeks, breaking a month long run of outflows. A total of US$14.9mn was deposited into long agricultural ETPs, with the lions share flowing into diversified basket agricultural products. It appears that price weakness across the complex is enticing investors to build positions. Sugar is the standout, with the largest inflows in seven weeks, as prices bucked the sector trend, gaining 2.7% last week.
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