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Gold funds shine, but oil ETFs lose big on coronavirus

Finance 09:03 May 06, 2020

SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) -- Gold funds in South Korea have shined over the past three months on investors' flight to safety amid the coronavirus pandemic, but oil funds have fared dismally on tumbling crude prices, a market tracker said Wednesday.

The three-month average return of 12 local gold funds with assets of 1 billion won (US$816,000) or more came to 10.22 percent as of last Wednesday, according to FnGuide.

The figure far outperformed the median return rate of minus 12.16 percent for domestic stock funds over the three-month period.

The financial information provider attributed the gold funds' solid performance to a bump in gold prices as investors are increasingly turning to safe assets during the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the Korea Exchange, one gram of gold fetched 68,860 won (US$56) on the domestic market on April 24, the highest close since the market's opening in March 2014.

Gold funds shine, but oil ETFs lose big on coronavirus - 1

The yellow metal has reemerged as a safe haven as the United States and other major economies seek to expand quantitative easing to cope with the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, FnGuide said.

In contrast, oil funds in South Korea have been on the skids over the cited period as the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has sent crude prices plunging.

Two major oil commodity exchange traded funds (ETFs), which are pegged to crude prices, posted an average return of minus 64 percent to 74 percent.

Oil ETFs consist of either crude firm stocks or futures and derivative contracts to track the price and performance of oil, or in some cases oil-related indexes.

International oil prices have been in freefall, battered by sinking demand due to the coronavirus outbreak and major exporters' failure to agree on a production cut.

Last month, international oil prices took a roller-coaster ride with West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures lapsing into negative territory.

Despite poor returns, local commodity-focused funds had about 9.8 trillion won under their management as of last Wednesday, up 8.4 trillion won from three months earlier, according to FnGuide.

Gold funds shine, but oil ETFs lose big on coronavirus - 2


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