Gold loses its shine as funds predict 31% drop this year

December 16
2:07 AM 2013

Gold is rapidly losing its appeal in investors. According to a Bloomberg report, gold-backed exchange-traded products (ETPs) are being dumped by investors since their creation ten years ago. The report noted that this was the steepest decrease in price in the last 32 years.

Bloomberg's compiled data revealed that holdings in 14 of the biggest ETPs dropped to 1,813.7 metric tons since the beginning of January, a 31% annual dive since the securities were traded in 2003. The report said this equates to a $69.5 billion in value removed in the ETPs as gold prices had dropped since 1981. A median of 11 analyst estimates that had been collated by the news agency also revealed that an additional 311 tons will be removed by next year.

Last year, investments on ETP hit a $148 billion record, which helped sustain the bull market that had driven an increase of over sixfold in prices since 2001 by offering investors to own bullion without physically storing them. The report said the slump indicated a waning interest in investors and belief that gold could preserve one's wealth after inflation had not accelerated. The slump was said to be also attributed to the US Federal Reserve's decision to reduce its $85 monthly bond purchases.

London-based analyst Robin Bhar at Societe Generale SA said, "All the bullish factors we had pushing gold higher in the last 12 years are now going into reverse. There will be more ETF selling in 2014 as the price goes lower." Bhar is ranked as most-accurate precious-metals forecaster by the news agency for the last eight quarters.

New York-based director of research Mike McGlone at ETF Securities credited the economic expansion and rising equity markets aside from the planned tapering of the monetary stimulus program by the Fed for the gold fallout. Referring to exchange-traded funds, McGlone added, "Gold ETFs have fallen out of favor in 2013. We view 2013 as a correction in the longer-term structural gold bull market."

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