Industry Updates

ETCs suffer amid global trade war

George Geddes

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US President Donald Trump has led his economy into global battle with numerous countries with no end in sight. As the equity market declines in recent weeks, it is now commodities that have been the most recent victims to the trade war. A large volume of ETCs were the worst performing exchange-traded products last week, according to data from Ultumus.

Last week saw President Trump threatening to impose tariffs on Mexican imports if the USA’s southern neighbour did not limit illegal immigration across the border. In tandem with ongoing tariff hike threats with China, its is expected demand for fuel is likely to drop causing oil prices to slide.

The ETFS WTI Crude Oil ETC (CRUD) saw its Net Asset Value fall 8.7% over the course of last week. This was only just behind its currency hedged counterparts which broke through the 9.0% loss barrier. The GBP hedged (PCRD) and EUR hedged (ECRD) versions of the ETC fell 9.4% and 9.3%, respectively.

Some other commodities which suffered over the last week include natural gases, carbon, livestock and cocoa. The ETFS Natural Gas (NGAS), ETFS Carbon (CARP), ETFS Livestock (AIGL) and ETFS Cocoa (COCO) has a similar performances to oil, but not so severe, falling 6.0%, 4.5%, 3.8% and 2.7%, respectively.

However, there were some commodities which managed to produce some positive returns for the same period. Agriculture ETC’s were on the right side of zero despite livestock ETCs producing losses. The ETFS Longer Dated Agriculture (FAGR) saw its NAV rise 5.0%.

Unsurprisingly, gold, which is normally seen as a safe haven when the equity market is in decline, has also produced positive returns. The precious metal had a difficult start to Q2 as the equity market was still on the rise but has now dipped over the last month as a result of the trade war. Hence the ETFS Physical Gold (VZLD) saw its NAV slightly rise by 1.0% as well as pulling in $90.5m in new cash. The larger SPDR Gold Shares ETC (GLD) which had an identical performance also had inflows of $182.6m.

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