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Gold ETF holdings fall 5.1 mt in Feb on falling prices, volatility

Washington — Physical gold held by major exchange-traded funds fell by 5.1 mt in February compared with the previous month amid increased volatility and falling prices, the World Gold Council said Tuesday. Gold-backed ETFs collectively held 2,398.4 mt at the end of February, worth $101.4 billion, the WGC said in a report.

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"Flows were negative as the price of gold decreased and its volatility increased. This was reflected by higher trading volumes globally in ETFs and futures," WGC analysts said.

Global ETF inflows were dominated by Asian-listed funds, which added 7.9 mt worth $318 million to their holdings in February, bringing total holdings to 90.7 mt, according to the WGC.

Most of the flows came from the Bosera Gold Exchange Trade Open-End Fund ETF, which added 7.4 mt worth $317 million, bringing its total holdings to 10.9 mt by the end of February.

Flows across the rest of the globe were negative in February. European funds' holdings fell 7.3 mt, worth $237.1 million, while North American-listed funds had outflows of 5.1 mt, worth $196 million, the WGC said.

US-based SPDR Gold Shares, the largest global gold ETF, saw outflows of 10.3 mt worth $425 million in February, bringing its total holdings down to 830.8 mt.

By contrast, the US-based iShares Gold Trust added 4.7 mt worth $204.6 million, bringing its total holdings to 265.9 mt by the end of February.

Funds in other regions had marginal outflows of 0.7 mt worth about $28 million in February, the WGC said.

Looking at broader, year-to-date trends, global gold-backed ETFs added 25.3 mt over the first two months of 2018, WGC analysts said.

Asian funds added 9.1 mt during the first two months, bringing their total holdings to 90.7 mt for an increase of 10.3% from the year-ago period.

North American funds added 16.8 mt during the first two months of 2018 to bring total holdings to 1,261.3 mt, up 1.4% from the same point last year. The iShares Gold Trust accounted for 47% of global net inflows in January-February, according to the WGC.

European funds declined by 0.1 mt during the first two months to bring total holdings to 999.9 mt, down 0.5% from 2017, the WGC said.

--Nick Jonson,
--Edited by Derek Sands,