SHIFT IN GOLD DEMAND: PERFORMANCE OF ETFs

Gold’s appeal as an alternative investment option remains high. Historically equities have performed better than gold barring certain minor aberrations here and there. However, asset allocation is an important aspect of any investment strategy. By balancing asset classes of different correlations, investors hope to maximize returns and minimize risk. While many investors may believe that their portfolios are adequately diversified, they typically contain only three asset classes – stocks, bonds/fixed income instruments and cash. To counter adverse movements in a particular asset or asset class, many investors now strive to achieve more effective diversification in their portfolios by incorporating alternative investments such as commodities. While gold has shown strong returns over recent years, its most valuable contribution to a portfolio lies in the fact that it is not correlated with most other assets. This is because the gold price is not driven by the same factors that drive the performance of other assets. Demand for gold may continue to rise as investors diversify their portfolio with an asset that is not correlated with the equity markets. In the melt down seen in 2008-09, gold was not correlated with the other assets and hence saved.

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Gold’s price action in the past few months has frustrated many traders. High volatility in prices created much risk for the investors as well as for intra day traders. At this time ETFs plays a major role as Gold ETFs provides investors a means of participating in the gold bullion market without the necessity of taking physical delivery of gold, and to buy and sell that participation through the trading of a security on stock exchange. Gold ETF would be a passive investment; so, when gold prices move up, the ETF appreciates and when gold prices move down, the ETF loses value. Each unit is approximately equal to price of 1 gram gold. But, there are Gold ETFs which also provide a unit which is approximately equal to the price of ½ gram of gold.

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Gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) serve several functions in both good times and bad. These days, we’re seeing it primarily workingas a safe haven for investors. According to the World Gold Council’s (WGC) latest Gold Investment Digest (GID), the quarter Q2 2010 recorded significant net inflows into various gold backed investment vehicles, as investors sought to harness gold’s investment benefits at a time of weakness and pronounced volatility in other asset classes. Investors bought 273.8 net tonnes of gold via exchange traded funds (ETFs) in Q2 2010. This represents the second largest quarterly inflow on record with the total amount of gold held in the ETFs monitored by WGC to over 2,000 tonnes (worth US$81.6 billion).

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Till now India has been the biggest consumer of gold but gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) were not much popular in India. However, things are changing fast inIndia. With increasing popularity more and more people are now putting their money on Gold ETFs. As a sign of this, India’s gold collection under exchange-traded funds rose 76 per cent in June 2010 from a year ago to 10.453 tonnes. There has been an increase of customers by 70-80 per cent (on year). Most of the participation  was from high net worth individuals and other retail investors. The gold ETFs, instruments that trade like shares and are backed by physical gold holdings, are more than three year old and may get crowded with some other funds planning their entry.

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Over the past nine years, gold has managed to post successive increases in its annual average price, navigating the choppiest of waters.

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From the above mentioned chart it is clearly visible that gold ETF’s has given significant return on yearly basis.GOLDBEES does the best and it does quite well in volumes also, thatis due to the fact that its expenses are lower than the competitors. More competition is always good for the customer, but unless someone comes up with an ETF with expenses lower than GOLDBEES, we can imagine GOLDBEES to be the best on this chart.

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ETF have shown consistent growth in volumes both in terms of number of trade and turnover. Based on the underlying asset different types of ETFs have been identified. The turnover and price of each class of ETF listed on NSE is given below.

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Advantages of Investing in Gold ETFs

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•Potentially cheaper to have price exposure to gold price as compared to other available avenues.

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•Quick and convenient dealing through demat account.

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•No storage and security issue for investors.

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•Transparent pricing.

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•Taxation of Mutual Fund.

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•Can be traded on stock exchange like buying / selling a stock.

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•Ideal for retail investor as minimum lot size to trade is one unit on secondary market.

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•NAV of a unit tracks price of approximately ½ or 1 gram of gold.

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The above mentioned benefits make gold ETFs much better investment avenue for the investors rather than investing in gold through any other source. However as we are seeing that strong investment demand for gold is quite visible, with investors viewing gold, a real asset and as a hedge against medium-term inflationary pressures and potential US dollar weakness. While also providing important diversification benefits, investors may continue to look to gold as a safe haven asset and an alternative currency in the face of volatile currency markets in coming period. Also the rising awareness among Indian investor regarding investment through gold ETFs may boost the demand in near future.

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OUR Websites:  http://www.smcindiaonline.com,http://www.smccapitals.com,
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