Over at Barron’s, Brendan Conway detailed the falling value of the most important ETF in the gold market this morning. The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) has dropped a notch on the list of the biggest ETFs in the market, sometime back in April. The ETF is now worth $50.91 billion by assets and comes in as the third biggest ETF in the marketplace.
The biggest ETF out there at the moment is the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY), which gives investors exposure to the market index, and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (NYSEARCA:VWO), which gives investors broad exposure to various emerging market equities. Those two are worth $130 and $58 billion respectively.
ETFs are becoming a more and more popular way for investors to get exposure to assets at a lower price and higher liquidity than they would otherwise be able to achieve. Gold ETFs were popular because they were one of the cheapest ways to invest in gold, along with physical gold, and physical gold needs to be stored somewhere.
According to Cynthia Murphy over at Index Universe, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) lost $6.67 billion of its asset value in April, and has lost more than $13 billion of its assets so far in 2013. Gold is becoming a less attractive investment after last month’s gold crash which shook the confidence many investors had in the yellow metal.
ETFs are often invested in by smaller investors because their inexpensive nature and their liquidity are attractive to investors with a limited amount of capital to spread around. Those investors are less likely to have a team of analysts on hand to reassure them about their choice to invest in gold. That means when headline pressure comes they’re more likely to take their money and run.
The new theory concerning the U.S. economy is that it is about to enter into a deflationary cycle. Many big investors have come to appreciate the merits of this narrative in the opening months of the year. If the theory holds up, gold is likely to fall in value, and that means that investors should be getting out of the metal, including ETFs linked to it.
Despite these shocks in the gold market, the metal is currently trading back at levels before the crash. Spot Gold sold for more than $1465 per ounce at yesterday’s close, and today it was trading for close to that number.