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ETF gold holdings surge

SPDR Gold Shares, an ETF that owns physical bullion rather than financial derivatives, has become one of the world’s biggest hoards of gold, surpassing even the holdings of some central banks.Investors have scrambled to buy the precious metal and pushed it to record highs. Gold’s price passed $2,000 as it is widely viewed as insurance against accelerating price rises.

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The size of the fund’s holdings — which are held in HSBC’s London vaults — has climbed to 1,258 tons. On Monday and Tuesday alone, it added another 15 tons, roughly five times as much as Michael Caine’s bank robbers lifted in The Italian Job, based on the $4m value of the gold taken in the 1969 film.

The ETF is a partnership between State Street, a big Boston bank, and the World Gold Council, a trade body for the industry. It has posted a 33% return this year, which helped lift its value to more than $80 billion.

The gold rally continued late on Tuesday as the metal’s price passed $2,000 a troy ounce for the first time ever. The size of the fund’s holdings are equal to a quarter of all the gold held at Fort Knox, more than the gold reserves of the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England or the Reserve Bank of India, and not far from China’s 1,948 tons of the precious metal, according to data from the WGC.

6 Responses to “ETF gold holdings surge”

  1. Mary

    If I buy this Gold ETF, do I have the choice of converting the share to a physical gold at any time. If there are conditions to it, can you tell me what they are?


    • Bill Haynes


      Yes, you can convert some ETFs to physical gold, but it’s a convoluted process. Probably easier just to buy physical gold. American Gold Eagles are the world’s best selling gold coins.

  2. Pa Pa Dennis

    … What is the big deal about AM Gold Eagles .. They have less gold content than other .. such as … Gold Maple leafs and Gold Pandas have higher gold content … why not buy Gold Maples and Gold Pandas if AM gold eagles have lower gold content ???? … If I am buying gold .. I should want to buy the high quality gold coins … YES ??

    • Bill Haynes

      The three coins you mention–American Gold Eagles, Canadian Gold Maples Leafs, and Australian Gold Pandas–all contain one ounce of gold. The GMLs and Pandas are pure gold while the Gold Eagles are 22-karat but still contain 1-oz of gold. Therefore, GMLs and Pandas weigh 31.11 grams while the GEs weigh right at 33.9 grams.


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