Gold ETF volumes rose 17% in 2023

Daily gold market trading volumes around the globe averaged US$152bn in December, 13% lower m/m. While gold ETF volumes (+17%) increased, OTC transactions (-10%) and exchange-traded derivative activities

(-18%) fell. In 2023, gold trading volumes surged by 24% compared to the 2022 daily average. This was chiefly supported by notably higher trading activities at the OTC physical gold market (+27%) and major exchanges (+19%).

Meanwhile, trading at the global gold ETF market was relatively lighter (-13%). Net long positioning on Comex reached 677t during the last week of 2023, 3% higher m/m and a 42% jump compared to the end-2022 level (476t). Money manager net longs saw similar strength, reaching 421t by the end of 2023 and doubling y/y.

These changes reflect investors’ improved expectations of the gold price amid shifting macro drivers such as lowering Treasury yields and the dollar.

Looking at the long-term trends, following three consecutive annual outflows, global gold ETFs lost US$27bn between 2021 and 2023 while holdings reduced by 543t during the same period. Combined outflows from Western funds (Europe + North America) reached US$16bn in 2023, the largest since 2013.

In December, low-cost gold ETFs registered their seventh consecutive monthly outflow, collectively shedding US$705mn (-10t) – European outflows (-US$1bn) outweighed North American inflows (+US$391mn). Outflows across global low-cost funds in 2023 amounted to US$5bn (-85t). Europe saw net outflows of US$6bn while North America recorded a US$583mn inflow.

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