Last year marked the twelfth consecutive year for rising gold prices. But that could be the end of the yellow metals string. Since the beginning of the year, gold ETFs have sold 140 metric tons of gold, and the month of February saw the highest outflow of gold on record according to a report in the Financial Times.
We have already noted some of the issues investors need to keep in mind about gold this year, and the dumping of physical gold by ETFs like the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEMKT: GLD) and the ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (NYSEMKT: SGOL) appears to indicate that investors are more willing now to bet on a recovering global economy. The need for a safe-haven seems to have taken a backseat to a new appetite for risk.
The impact goes even deeper though. If gold prices continue to decline, demand for gold will fall and the prices that gold miners are able to get for their production will fall, putting even more pressure on the tenuous profits now available to gold miners. The gold miner ETFs, Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEMKT: GDX) and Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEMKT: GDXJ) are both down around 20% since the beginning of the year, although neither had a particularly buoyant 2012 either.
The bad news even spreads to silver, where the Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSEMKT: SIL) is down the same 20% since the first of the year and the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEMKT: SLV) has lost 10% since a mid-January peak.
The gold sell-off could just be temporary, and a shock to the global economy could bring investors back. Lord knows there are plenty of things that can still go wrong with the slow economic recovery.
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Commodities & Metals, ETF Tagged: featured, GDX, GDXJ, GLD, SGOL, SIL, SLV