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London — Gold flows into Exchange Traded Funds have had a record year-to-date so far, with first half global net inflows touching $39.5 billion, crushing the previous full year record of $23 billion in 2016, industry lobby group World Gold Council said July 7.

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Gold has been in the spotlight throughout 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting economic fallout, has pushed investors toward safe havens. Gold was spot bid in London at 1240 GMT around $1,777/oz.

Some are now forecasting that the metal could be due to break all-time highs and head toward $2,000/oz.

Gold prices remain well supported by a weaker dollar, ballooning central bank balance sheets as well as increasing coronavirus cases and renewed trade tensions between the US and China.

In June, North American funds accounted for 80% of the global net inflows, adding $4.6 billion (4.3%) in assets under management. European funds added another $745.7 million, led by Swiss- and German-based funds, WGC research read.

Juan Carlos Artigas, head of research, WGC said: "Gold ETF investment demand shattered numerous records this year as investors sought safety from the economic turmoil created by COVID-19. To put it in context, inflows in the first half of 2020 significantly exceeded multi-decade record levels of net gold purchased by central banks in 2018 and 2019."

"We expect gold ETF investment demand to continue its strong momentum in the second half as concerns over COVID-19's economic impact and infection rates linger, gold price performance remains solid and accommodative monetary policy heightens risk-off sentiment."

ANZ agreed on the bull case for bullion.

"The buoyant gold market has almost perfect conditions. Lower interest rates, ample liquidity and a weaker US dollar are keeping the price afloat," the Australian bank added.