Global gold exchange-traded fund (gold ETFs) and similar products added 298 tonnes, or net asset growth of $23 billion, across all regions in the first quarter of 2020, which is the highest quarterly amount ever in absolute US dollar terms and the largest tonnage additions since 2016, according to World Gold Council (WGC) data released on Wednesday.
During 2019, gold ETFs added 659 tonnes, the highest on a rolling annual basis since the financial crisis in 2008, with assets under management (AUM) growing 57 percent over the same period, WGC said.
In March, gold ETFs, globally, added 151 tonnes, gross inflows of $8.1 billion , +5 percent, boosting holdings to new all-time highs of 3,185 tonnes.
Trading volumes and AUM reached record highs as gold volatility increased to levels last seen during the financial crisis, yet gold price performance was mostly flat in US dollars for the month.
Gold prices denominated in many other currencies, however, continued to reach all-time highs although the price in US dollars remained 15 percent below its 2011 high.
“This highlights a continued trend of growth in gold ETFs outside of the US over the past few years; a trend underscored by European funds seeing the largest absolute inflows and Asia and other regionsr egistering the largest percentage growth during the month," according to WGC.
For regional flows in March, holdings in European funds increased by 84 tonnes, $4.4 billion, North American funds had inflows of 57 tonnes, $3.2 billion, funds listed in Asia added 4.9 tonnes, $309 million, while other regions had inflows of 4.7 tonnes, $249 million.
Over the long term, along the past 12 months assets in global gold ETFs have grown by 56 percent.
Following the March inflows, both holdings and assets of gold ETFs are at all-time highs, as UK-based gold funds continue to take regional and global market share, now representing 46 percent of European assets and 21 percent of global assets.
Low-cost gold ETFs in the US have seen positive flows for 21 of the past 22 months and have increased their collective assets by 263 percent.