Investors infused Rs 16 crore in gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in 2019, after pulling out money from safe-haven assets in the past six years, on fears of a slowdown in the global market and volatility in equity and debt markets. Going ahead, the segment is likely to gain more traction from investors due to the recent increase in tensions between the US and Iran and the threat to global economy, Himanshu Srivastava, senior analyst manager research at Morningstar Investment Adviser India, said.
The inflows meant asset under management (AUM) of gold funds surged 26% to Rs 5,768 crore at the end of December 2019 from Rs 4,571 crore at the end of December 2018, data from the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi) showed. Over the past few years, retail investors invested more money into equities as compared to gold ETFs, mainly on account of strong returns.
According to Amfi data, investors put in a net sum of Rs 16 crore in 14 gold-linked ETFs last year, while they pulled out Rs 571 crore in 2018. The safe-haven asset had witnessed an outflow of Rs 730 crore, Rs 942 crore, Rs 891 crore, Rs 1,651 crore and Rs 1,815 crore in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.
Gold ETFs had seen an inflow of Rs 1,826 crore in 2012. “Fears of a slowdown in the global market have helped gold find its safe-haven appeal back in the recent times. This has triggered a sharp rally in its prices in 2019 thus catching investors fancy,” Srivastava said.”Gold also adds a different layer of diversification in an investor’s portfolio, which has come in full play in 2019 with gold witnessing one of its best years after 2011.” He further said the rise in AUM is largely due to change in market valuation — increase in price of yellow metal.
SBI Mutual Fund MD and CEO Ashwani Bhatia said, “Gold as an asset class, preferably in the gold ETF format, should ideally be a part of every investor’s portfolio, and is relatively safer compared to other asset classes.”
“To that extent, we are not surprised to see inflows into the category. But, what we believe created additional interest in gold ETFs was perhaps the volatility in both the equity and debt markets, along with a rise in gold prices,” Bhatia added. Gold-backed ETFs are passive investment instruments that are based on price movements and investments in physical gold.