Oil ETP inflows continue amid supply disruptions
ETF Securities Weekly Flows Analysis – Oil ETP inflows continue amid supply disruptions
- Long oil ETPs see a third consecutive week of inflows as supply disruptions extend price gains
- Gold outflows continue, albeit at a reduced pace
- Profit-taking appears to have driven the largest cotton ETP outflow seen since 2016
Long oil ETPs see a third consecutive week of inflows as supply disruptions extend price gains. These three weeks of inflows mark the longest period of sustained inflows since June 2017. There were US$8.6mn of inflows last week following a 2.4% gain in oil prices. While prior week inflows appeared to be driven by bargain-hunting as prices fell, last week, oil prices rose in reaction to supply disruptions. Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended all oil shipments through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait following attacks on two crude-carrying vessels by Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Close to 8% of global maritime oil trade goes through the Bab el- Mandab choke point (just under 5% of global oil and liquid fuels supply). A prolonged disruption could tighten supplies. Most exports from the Persian Gulf destined to travel through the Suez Canal and SUMED pipeline (another important choke point), and eventually to the European markets, pass through the Bab el-Mandab. A diversion requires the oil tankers to travel around the Southern tip of Africa, adding to cost. That comes at a time when heavy crudes from Canada and Venezuela are also experiencing outages. The internationally-focused Brent oil benchmark experienced a stronger price reaction than the US-focused WTI oil benchmark.
Gold outflows continue, albeit at a reduced pace. Last week there were US$41.7mn outflows from gold ETPs, marking the third consecutive week of outflows. However, it was the first week in three that we saw outflows of less than US$100mn. The outflows from ETPs are in line with declining speculative positioning in the gold futures market.
Gold has lost 5.8% since the beginning of this year despite a strong start to 2018. We believe the price decline is overdone. Although interest rates are likely to rise and the US Dollar could appreciate (typically gold price negative events), we believe that these risks are more than priced in. On the contrary, elevated geopolitical risks (which are typically gold price positive) seem not be sufficiently priced into gold. Our base case scenario for gold is to rise to US$1307/oz by mid- 2019 (see Gold Outlook June 2018), which presents a 7% upside from today’s levels.
Profit-taking appears to have driven the largest cotton ETP outflow seen since 2016. Cotton has been the outperformer in the agricultural commodity space, having risen 14% since the beginning of this year. The US Department of Agriculture has recently revised downward global supply prospects and increased consumption forecasts. Although cotton is affected by Chinese tariffs on the US, Vietnam’s growing importance in cotton imports could soften the blow on cotton demand. Vietnam is the leading destination for US cotton exports, as well as a large yarn producer, which appears to be displacing China’s domestic yarn production (exports of yarn from Vietnam to China have increased five-fold since 2012/13). Outflows of US$10.6mn from cotton ETPs are likely to be profit-taking on recent gains.
For more information contact:
ETF Securities Research team
ETF Securities (UK) Limited
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