Gold built on last week's gains on Monday rising more than 1% in heavy volume as investors seek a safe haven amid a widening trade war unleashed by US President Donald Trump.
Gold for delivery in August, the most active futures contract, reached a high of $1,325.30 an ounce, the highest 10 weeks with over 26m ounces changing hands in New York by midday.
Trump's plan to impose a 5% tariff on all Mexican goods, Chinese adding tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods over the weekend coupled with Beijing's threat to blacklist foreign companies in retaliation to punitive US levies are rattling markets and hurting the dollar.
Gold is seen as a store of value in turbulent times and the price of the metal usually moves in the opposite direction of the US currency. Gold is also finding investors' favour as bond yields in the US fall and a rate cut in the world's largest economy moves from possibility to probability.
Holdings in the world's largest physically-backed gold exchange traded fund – SPDR Gold Shares or GLD – rose to 743.2 tonnes or 23.9m ounces valued at just under $31.5 billion last week. Holdings across the dozens of listed gold ETFs rose to 70.6m ounces.
At the same time the Commitment of Traders report for the week ending 28 May saw large-scale speculators like hedge funds increase their net long positions in gold by 36% to over 100 tonnes. That's still well below February's bullish positioning north of 300 tonnes however.
Rotating out of equities
After the second-worst May performance on US equity markets since the 1960s that wiped $4 trillion off the value of the 500 largest stocks, Wall Street continued to bleed on Monday.
A note published on Friday from Capital Economics, a London-headquartered independent research and advisory firm, forecasts safe-haven demand will continue to lift the price of gold this year.
However, we suspect that the main trigger will be a slump in the S&P 500 as the US economy slows, rather than elevated trade tensions.
By Frik Els via Mining.com
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Frik Els, how reliable are GLD's holding reports? GLD does not give retail investors the right to redeem for any of its mystery physical gold holdings. This fact alone ensures the GLD shares to be nothing more than paper at the end of the day. GLD also has a glaring audit loophole in their prospectus that states they have no right to audit subcustodial gold holdings. To this day, I have not heard of a single good reason for the existence of this backdoor to the fund. Some other red flags I've stumbled upon, verified and welcome everyone else to verify for themselves:
"Did anyone try calling the GLD hotline at 866?320?4053 in search of numerical details on GLD's insurance? The prospectus vaguely states "The Custodian maintains insurance with regard to its business on such terms and conditions as it considers appropriate which does not cover the full amount of gold held in custody." When I asked about how much of the gold was insured, the representative proceeded to act as if he didn't know and said they were just the "marketing agent" for GLD. What kind of marketing agent would not know such basic information about a product they are marketing? It seems like they are deliberately hiding information from investors."
"I remember there was a highly publicized visit by CNBC's Bob Pisani to GLD's gold vault. This visit was organized by GLD's management to prove the existence of GLD's gold but the gold bar held up by Mr. Pisani had the serial number ZJ6752 which did not appear on the most recent bar list at that time. It was later discovered that this "GLD" bar was actually owned by ETF Securities."