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Ashraf Laidi

Ashraf Laidi

Ashraf Laidi is the author of "Currency Trading and Intermarket Analysis: How to Profit from the Shifting Currents in Global Markets" - Wiley Trading.

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Why has Druckenmiller Dived in Gold and Copper

Four weeks after gold tumbled to 5-year lows on revelation of far lower Chinese gold holdings than previously anticipated, gold bulls find out that one of the world's greatest hedge fund managers made gold the biggest holding in his fund in Q2. He also loaded up on 2 large miners.

Paulson versus Druckenmiller

Stan Druckenmiller's family office, Duquesne Capital Management, bought 2.9 mn shares of SPDR Gold Trust's GLD ETF, worth $323.6 million at the end of June, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission's quarterly filing. Duquesne's gold ETF purchase bumped the fund's Facebook holdings off the 2nd position to become the biggest holding in the $1.47 bn fund.

Druckenmiller acted as George Soros' chief strategist when he helped execute the shorting of the British pound to the extent of forcing the UK out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in September 1992. Since its inception in 1986, Duquesne has had an average return of 30% per year. In early May, Druckenmiller told Bloomberg in May that interest rates were likely to stay near 0% for 10 years, casting doubt over whether the Fed would ever move to liftoff.

Druckenmiller vs Paulson

Despite the scale and timing of Druckenmiller's gold position, it remains unclear whether the trade is a long-term bet on the stabilisation of gold resulting from a possible peak in the USD and lack of Fed hikes, or is a short-term trade aimed at taking profit after a brief bounce. The fact that Druckenmiller has also purchased 1.28 mn shares of gold miner Newmont Mining and 3.6 mn shares of copper giant Freeport-McMorcan in the same quarter could indicate he's in it for the long run.

In contrast to Druckenmiller, John Paulson, the biggest holder of the GLD ETF, sold 11% of his holdings in Q2 after initially slashing them by 50% in Q2 2013 during gold's 25% collapse that quarter. While Paulson is the biggest owner of GLD, accounting 4% of the ETF, the fund makes up less than 5% of Paulson & Co's holdings, ranking 7th out of 64 different securities.

As John Paulson is quietly planning an exit out of his gold holdings, Druckenmiller is prominently loading up on the yellow metal.


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