Geopolitical risks drove ETP flows last week
ETF Securities Weekly Flows Analysis – Geopolitical risks drove ETP flows last week
- Oil ETP see US$39.5mn outflows as investor take profit on 3.2% rise in oil price.
- Gold continues to attract inflows in an environment of heightened political risk.
- ETF investors short Italy in anticipation of a fallout this week.
Long oil ETP see US$39.5mn outflows as investor take profit on 3.2% rise in oil price. Oil prices have risen to a to a 3½ -year high on the back of the US announcing the re-introduction of sanctions against Iran. Global oil markets have already become tight as a result of outages from Venezuela and strong compliance from the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries (OPEC) with their accord to curb production. Given that the US does not import any Iranian oil and no importing country appears to agree with the US stance, we expect only minimal compliance with the US’s extraterritorial rule. In short the sanctions are unlikely to kill Iranian oil, but the geopolitical premium is likely to linger. Some of the more recent gains are likely to be deflated as other countries increase production. Investors appear to be taking profit as the gains look unsustainable.
Gold continues to attract inflows in an environment of heightened political risk. The political calendar is busy. A meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is on the radar for the coming month and there are many risks around the nuclear powers butting heads rather than developing a peace plan. The US’s intervention in Iran is a sign that it is re-establishing its diplomatic presence in the Middle East. Whether that will help or hinder stability in the region is yet unknown. If Iran decides to pull out of the agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) itself, we believe the region could transcend into chaos and the proxy-war between Saudi Arabia and Iran will escalate. Long gold ETPs received US$16.7mn in inflows, while closely correlated silver ETPs received US$3.1mn.
Short FTSE MIB equities attracted its largest inflows since June 2017 as investors fear the coalition of anti-establishment parties in Italy. Short FTSE MIB ETPs gained US$3.6mn while long FTSE MIB saw US$4.5mn of outflows. There had been surprisingly little reaction from bond and equity markets surrounding the deadline set for yesterday around the forming of a coalition. We believe ETP investors have positioned for a fallout this week.
Investors appear split over aluminium’s direction. Long aluminium ETPs received US$1.9mn – largest weekly inflows since February 2018 – while short aluminium ETPs received US$1.1mn – largest weekly inflows since May 2016. Although prices have come off their highs reached last month when the US sanctions against a major shareholder of a Russian miner were announced, prices are likely to rise as these sanctions (and trade restrictions against China) come into effect.
Investors become more bullish the euro vis-à-vis the US dollar. Last week, investors bought US$9.7mn of long EUR short USD ETPs, and sold $8.3mn of long USD short EUR ETPs. Investors appear unconvinced that US dollar’s recent moderate appreciation can be sustained. Although with economic data continuing to weaken in Europe and little indication that the Federal Reserve will be deterred from raising rates another couple of times this year, we think that there is potential for rate differentials to drive the US dollar higher.
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