Geopolitical tensions and market uncertainty combined with the coronavirus outbreak led to a 5% increase in the gold price in January to seven-year highs of US$1,584/oz and continues to make all-time highs in many global currencies, while assets under management (AUM) grew 8% in US dollar terms during the month.
Gold represented one of the best performing broader asset classes in January (plus 4.6%), and it outpaced global equity markets and commodities.
European funds led regional inflows, adding 33t or $1.7 billion, originating mainly from the UK (21t, $1.1 billion) ahead of Brexit. North American funds added 2% to assets (29t, $1.4 billion), as coronavirus uncertainty drove inflows into safe havens.
Asian funds finished the month relatively flat, losing 1.2t ($57 million), while other regions had marginal inflows of 700kg ($41 million).
The WGC said global gold-backed ETFs assets under management was less than 2% away from the all-time highs of 2012, when the price of gold was 11% higher.
Low-cost gold-backed ETFs in the US have seen positive flows for 19 of the past 20 months and have increased their collective holdings by 220%.