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SPDR Gold Leads Growth in Commodity Products, BlackRock Reports

A one hundred gram gold bar
Gold resumed its rally yesterday as the euro fell for the first time in three days. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The SPDR Gold Trust added $3.74 billion in assets in the first four months of the year, leading a 6.4 percent jump across commodity-linked exchange-traded products and funds, according to BlackRock Inc.

Commodity assets in ETFs and ETPs reached $125.8 billion by April 30, from $118.2 billion at the end of 2009, said Deborah Fuhr, global head of ETF research. SPDR Gold’s advance was the third-biggest among all sectors surveyed, exceeded only by Vanguard Emerging Markets and PowerShares QQQ Trust.

“More people are including commodities as part of their overall asset allocation,” Fuhr said by phone from Madrid yesterday. “We have seen the interest in gold products for a number of years and it’s growing.”

Gold prices have gained for nine consecutive years, the longest winning streak since at least 1920, and reached a record $1,248.82 an ounce on May 12. The SPDR Gold Trust’s holdings of 1,209.5 metric tons exceed the holdings of all but four central banks and the International Monetary Fund.

The U.S. Natural Gas Fund LP was the biggest commodities loser, with assets down $1.8 billion to $2.9 billion, according to BlackRock, owner of iShares, the biggest provider of ETFs.

Commodity ETFs are open-ended and diversified funds, led by Market Vectors Gold Miners. Commodity ETPs usually contain a smaller range of assets and some are backed by physical materials such as gold.

Holdings across ETFs and ETPs were $1.3 trillion at the end of April, 9.2 percent more than at the end of 2009, BlackRock said. Total assets may climb as much as 30 percent this year, BlackRock said.

“We see more multi-asset class investing, which would include commodities,” Fuhr said.

The first ETF was listed in 1990 and based on equities, according to BlackRock. Fixed-income followed in 2000 and commodities in 2001, with the iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold Index Fund in Canada, according to BlackRock.

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