ETP investors bargain-hunt as commodities capitulate
ETF Securities Weekly Flows Analysis – ETP investors bargain-hunt as commodities capitulate
- Oil ETPs continue to see inflows with prices erasing all post-OPEC deal gains.
- Sharp price declines drive bargain hunting in silver, copper and aluminium ETPs.
- Emerging market bond ETPs see largest outflows since November 2016.
Crude oil ETPs saw the third consecutive week of inflows as prices drop 6.3%. As US inventories fail to decline in line with seasonal trends and US production continues to expand, oil prices have given back almost all of their gains since OPEC reached a deal to cut production in November 2016. Despite Saudi Arabia’s strong push to extend the deal for another six months at least, the market remains unconvinced with OPEC’s strategy. Net speculative long positions in Nymex oil futures are down by close to a third since a peak in February 2017. However, ETP investors sensed another buying opportunity with US$39.5mn long oil ETPs inflows.
Strong inflows into copper and aluminium ETPs despite sharp price declines. Metal prices fell as the market began to price in a June Fed rate as a near certainty and doubts about China’s growth story resurfaced. Copper fell 2.6%, while aluminium declined a modest 0.5%. Although investors in broad industrial metal baskets cut their investments by US$16.9mn (the highest outflows since December 2016), more discriminating ETP investors – focused on individual metal fundamentals – saw the recent price dip as a good buying opportunity. Inflows of US$23.0mn in to long copper ETPs marked the highest creations since March 2017, while inflows of US$9.4mn into long aluminium ETPs were the highest since July 2016. Copper is likely to remain in a supply deficit in 2017 and 2018 which will mark nine straight years of supply falling short of demand. Aluminium supply meanwhile should tighten significantly if China follows through with capacity constraint in winter months amid environmental concerns from smelting activity.
Inflows into silver ETPs rise to highest since December 2016. US$12.5mn into long silver ETPs contrasts the US$11.2mn outflows from gold ETPs last week. Both metal prices fell hard after the Fed meeting which investors interpreted as a confirmation of a rate hike in June. However, silver appears cheap relative to gold, with the gold-to-silver ratio rising to 75 from 68 last month which has presented a buying opportunity. Moreover, after gold almost hit our fair value estimate of US$1300/oz a few weeks ago, we expect it to decline to US$1230 by year-end. However, we estimate silver’s fair value to be close to US$20/oz by year end, offering more than a 20% upside to investors from current levels. Supply deficits, growing industrial demand and a tightening in exchange inventory provide upside potential.
US$7.1mn outflow from emerging market bonds. Investors took profit on their emerging market bond ETP holdings, amid the pressure of declining commodity prices and rising US yields (potentially narrowing yield differentials). Outflows were at their highest since November 2016 after YTD gains of 6.6% in EM bonds.
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