ETF Express: Week Ending 1 December 2023
- Risk-on, tech-oriented ETFs (CLNE, CRYP, CURE, HGEN, IPAY) were the theme across the top performers last week. Markets rallied as Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at a college event seemed to indicate that interest rates in the US had reached their peak, stating that rates were “well into restrictive territory”, and further decisions were to be data dependent.1
- Gold mining ETFs (GDX, MNRS) were also major winners of the week as spot gold reached all-time highs of ~US$2135 on a slew of bullish factors including the weakening US dollar, potential rate cuts, and continued geopolitical tension.2
- Carbon credit ETFs (GCO2, XCO2) were the poorest performers as nations in COP28 discussed the possibility of enforcing a transparent, defined, and global carbon credit market – one that has been proposed since the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Climate Action Network, an international group of environmental activists, heavily criticised the vagueness of planned rules for a possible UN supervisory body that would oversee the global carbon initiative.3
- There were $884.3 million in reported inflows for the week, and only $370.8 million in outflows, marking a week of strong net inflows for the Australian ETF industry.
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India ‘Emerges’ as Asia’s New Growth Champion
India’s third quarter GDP came in at 7.6% last week, much higher than the 6.5% figure projected by the Reserve Bank of India and international analysts.4 These metrics come as China’s economy continues to falter, cementing India’s position as the fastest growing major economy in the world.5 The country’s strong performance is set to continue in the coming years with FY2024-25 GDP predicted to hit around 6.5%, then jump to 7% in FY2026.6
Main boosters to India’s outperformance this quarter were its industrials and manufacturing. This was largely due to Prime Minister Modi’s long-running “Make in India, Make for World” initiative – a project for making India the manufacturing centre of the world – which has started to come to fruition after being launched in 2014. Triggered by increasing geopolitical instability, investors have increasingly pivoted toward India as the ideal solution for ‘China + 1’ strategies, seeking to develop manufacturing capabilities in a separate, faster growing market. Tech giants such as Apple and Tesla are investing billions toward production and manufacturing capabilities in the country. Apple is looking to scale up production in India to over US$40 billion, and Tesla is closing in on establishing its first mega-factory in the country by 2025.7,8
This growth has been reflected in the Indian share market, with the S&P BSE Industrials Index, which specifically tracks Indian companies responsible for manufacturing and infrastructure, rallying more than 50% year to date.9
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- Gold prices surged to all-time highs of ~US$2135 on dovish Fed commentary that stated the current monetary policy is ‘well into restrictive territory’ which continues the implied narrative that rates have peaked in the US.10,11
- Analysts expect gold prices will sustain and continue to grow in 2024. Geopolitical risks in the Middle East continue to be a driving force behind safe haven purchasing, and weakness in the US dollar and potentially lower interest rates are also likely to push prices higher.12
- Gold prices will likely hold steady until clearer US monetary policy emerges in the first half of 2024.
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- 22 nations that attended COP28 have pledged to triple nuclear generation capacity by 2050.13 The countries, which include the US, Canada, Japan, France, UK and UAE, have committed to supporting ‘development and construction of nuclear reactors such as SMRs and other advanced reactors for power generation’.
- As of current construction pipelines, S&P Global Insights estimates global nuclear output will climb to 58% by 2050.14 The majority of growth will be driven by Chinese construction of nuclear powerplants, with the US coming in second.
- The rapid growth of listed physical uranium funds presents a risk of potential supply that could flood back into the market on weaker sentiments. Sprott Physical Uranium Trust, the largest on the market, has recently surpassed US$5 billion in assets and uranium trusts overall have purchased more than 50 million pounds of physical uranium in the past three years – equivalent to 30% of current annual demand.15
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- Brazil indicated it was on the brink of joining OPEC+, a group of 23 oil-producing nations.16 The South American country, which produces up to 4.6 million barrels of crude oil per day, would become one of the largest members by volume.17 President Lula has stated Brazil’s potential participation would be to help curb fossil fuel use and bring a voice of urgency to the OPEC’s view toward climate change.
- Traders were unphased by OPEC+’s agreement to voluntarily cut back supply by roughly 900,000 barrels per day (BPD), trading down oil prices by ~1% for the week.18 There has yet to be any concrete evidence of actual incremental output cuts by the rest of the OPEC nations (excluding Russia and Saudi Arabia), which has caused investors to question just how ‘real’ the pledges are.
- Many smaller nations in the OPEC+ rely on oil and gas exports for up to 90% of national GDP. Angola for example, which produces around 1.5 million BPD, has rejected OPEC’s lowered output quota, and intends to continue pumping at normal levels.19
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Forecasts are not guaranteed, and undue reliance should not be placed on them. This information is based on views held by Global X or referenced sources as at 5th December 2023.