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The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund is on track for its first quarterly outflow in a year in the three months to end-June at fading hopes for more monetary easing and gains in the dollar pushed bullion prices down 4 percent.
Data from the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD-N), which accounts for around 60 percent of all physical gold held in exchange-traded products tracked by Reuters, showed its holdings are down 5 tonnes so far this quarter, after a 32 tonne rise in the first three months of the year.
Gold prices are on track to post their biggest quarterly drop in nearly four years as the dollar rose 5 percent versus the euro and the Federal Reserve dampened hopes it might further loosen monetary policy.
Holdings of other gold-backed exchange-traded products have so far seen gains this quarter, however. ETPs operated by London-based ETF Securities have so far added 13.2 tonnes of gold, while Zurich Cantonalbank's (ZKB) gold fund has raised its reserves by 2.5 tonnes.
"U.S. dollar strength has hampered the gold price and has caused shorter-term tactical investors to reduce positions, particularly in the futures market, over the past quarter," ETF Securities' head of research Nicholas Brooks said.
"Most of the investors in our physical gold ETPs have at least a 12-month horizon, and the deterioration of the situation in Europe and the continued questions about the longer-term viability of the euro are causing them to build positions."
ETFs issue securities backed by physical stocks of a given metal and have proved a popular way to invest in gold since the start of the financial crisis. Operators say they offer investors exposure to the underlying metal price without having to store or insure physical bullion.
Among other gold ETFs, IShares' Comex gold fund has so far seen an inflow of 0.8 tonnes, its smallest quarterly rise since its holdings dipped slightly in the first three months of 2010.
Inflows into the largest silver ETF, New York's iShares Silver Trust, have slowed in the second quarter so far to 141 tonnes from 188 tonnes in the first three months of the year.