By now it can be argued that the most positive defining instrument of the global appetite for risk and reward is represented by gold bullion, as also seen in gold bullion exchange traded funds (ETFs), of which the biggest by far remains the SPDR Gold Shares ETF, which currently holds physical gold bullion of just less than 36m ounces, worth USD 34.5bn.
SPDR Gold Shares, which represent a proxy holding in physical gold bullion, is trading, like gold bullion itself, just 5% below dollar price highs, seen during March 2008. By the same token, silver bullion and silver ETFs are trading roughly 25% below the price high seen for the physical precious metal, also recorded just over a year ago.
The performance of gold bullion and gold ETFs has not only outclassed any other kind of publicly available and widely traded investment in absolute terms, but has also given a steadier 12-month return, defying the traditional perception of volatility attached to the metal. Established gold royalty companies such as Franco-Nevada have also performed very well, much in line with gold ETFs, in trading close to highs at this point in time.