Gold falls as Soros and BlackRock cut investments

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 May, 2013, 4:06am

Gold dropped to the lowest in almost a month as filings showed that George Soros and BlackRock cut holdings of bullion-backed exchange-traded products, adding to signs that investment demand is waning as US equities rally to records.

Soros Fund Management lowered its investment in the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest gold-backed ETP, in the three months to March, a filing showed.

Gold demand sank 13 per cent to 963 tonnes in the first quarter as ETP sales outweighed buying from China and India, the World Gold Council said.

"Many people accumulated gold in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008 and with investors expecting economic improvement going forward, holdings in [exchange-traded funds] have more room to fall," said Yang Xuejie, an analyst at Galaxy Futures. "There's always some physical buying at lower prices. However, that's not enough to take the market higher."

Gold for immediate delivery slid 1.6 per cent to US$1,370.82 an ounce in London after hitting US$1,369.85, the lowest since April 18. Prices fell for a sixth day in the worst run since February.

Bullion for June delivery lost 1.8 per cent to US$1,370.90 on the Comex in New York. Futures volumes were almost double the average for the past 100 days.

Gold has fallen 18 per cent this year, tumbling into a bear market last month, as some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value. The US dollar has rallied 5.2 per cent against a six-currency basket, while the S&P 500 Index reached a record.

Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust fell to 1,047.13 tonnes, the least since March 2009, according to data on the company's website. They have shrunk 303.7 tonnes this year. Soros Fund Management lowered its investment 12 per cent to 530,900 shares as of March 31, the filing showed. That followed a 55 per cent cut in the fourth quarter of last year.

Paulson & Co, the largest investor in SPDR, maintained its stake, while funds run by Northern Trust and BlackRock showed reductions.