After consecutive years of higher gold prices, traders have finally begun letting go of the precious metal, with gold exchange traded funds experiencing their sixth straight month of outflows.
The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD), the largest gold-related ETF, lost $2.9 billion in assets over May, according to IndexUniverse. Meanwhile, the ETFS Physical Swiss Gold (NYSEARCA:SGOL) shrunk by $89.4 million and the iShares Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:IAU) saw $371.5 million in outflows.
Overall, gold exchange traded products saw $5.7 billion in outflows last month, bringing year-to-date redemptions to $23.9 billion, according to a BlackRock research note. Total gold ETP assets now sit at $96.2 billion, or 31.9% lower from the $141.2 billion at the end of 2012.
BlackRock analysts attribute the rapidly declining interest in gold to the growing speculation that the Federal Reserve's monetary easing policies could end in the near term as the economy improves, which would force up interest rates. Consequently, a stronger U.S. dollar, greater demand for equities and shift away from traditional "safe haven" assets.
Gold futures were trading around $1,397 per ounce Tuesday.
Gold prices dipped below $1,400 Tuesday on concerns that India, the largest consumer of gold, would restrict imports, reports Lara Denina for Reuters.
"The news that the RBI will curb imports of gold by agencies has weighed prices down today as it is a wider restriction and could imply lower imports of gold into the country," Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said in the article.
Despite recent correction in gold, investors should not shy away from the asset class altogether.
"While gold has historically been seen as a potential cash alternative in periods of economic uncertainty and a hedge against inflation concerns or a weakening dollar, many invest in gold as a long-term holding due to its diversifying properties," BlackRock said. "Gold has historically shown little to no correlation with other major asset classes, including commodities, and gold is a beneficiary of negative real interest rates which have persisted for some time in many developed economies."
Max Chen contributed to this article.
Full disclosure: Tom Lydon's clients own GLD.
Disclosure: I am long GLD. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.