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ETF 2012 early 2013

2012 was characterized by a combination of fluctuating investor views on the global growth and sovereign debt outlook. In the first quarter of 2012, rising growth expectations caused investors to increase weightings in more cyclical commodities. However a weakening of US and China growth indicators and increased concerns about Europe’s sovereign debt issues led to net outflows from commodity ETPs in 2Q 2012. In 3Q and 4Q investor demand for gold ETPs soared as investors sought to hedge against worst case US fiscal cliff and debt ceiling scenarios as well as an intensification of central bank quantitative easing policies. The second half of the year also saw a strong pick-up in demand for more cyclical commodity ETPs as US and China economic indicators began to improve.

In early 2013 we appear to be seeing an extension of the trends of 4Q 2012, with improving US and China growth indicators adding demand for cyclical commodity exposures such as base metals, broad commodity exposures and energy, but a looming US debt ceiling fight and concerns about deteriorating growth and debt conditions in Europe keeping demand for perceived risk hedges such as gold ETPs high.

Nicholas Brooks, head of research and investment strategy at ETF Securities, says: “As we move into 2013, demand for gold ETPs remains strong as investors hedge against worst case US budget ceiling outcomes and potential major reserve currency debasement scenarios as US, European and Japan government debt levels continue to rise.  The demand for broad commodity, industrial metal and white precious metal ETPs will depend very much on whether the US averts a major debt crisis over its self-imposed debt-ceiling and whether the improvement in US and China economic growth proves to be sustainable.”

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