BlackRock’s Gold ETF (IAU) has seen fund inflows every day in 2016 (no outflows at all) and with the stock trading above its NAV for most of the year, the world’s largest asset manager has made a significant decision:
- *BLACKROCK SAYS ISSUANCE OF GOLD TRUST SHARES SUSPENDED
- *BLACKROCK SAYS SUSPENSION DUE TO DEMAND FOR GOLD
Issuance of New IAU (Gold Trust) Shares Temporarily Suspended; Existing Shares to Trade Normally for Retail and Institutional Investors on NYSE Arca and Other Venues
Suspension results from surging demand for gold, which requires registration of new shares
iShares Delaware Trust Sponsor LLC, in its capacity as the sponsor of iShares Gold Trust (IAU), has temporarily suspended the creation of new shares of IAU until additional shares are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
This suspension does not affect the ability of retail and institutional investors to trade on stock exchanges. Retail and institutional investors will continue to be able to buy and sell shares in IAU.
IAU holds gold as a physical asset. IAU is an exchange-traded commodity (ETC), which therefore is not eligible for registration as an investment company under the ’40 Act. IAU may only be registered under the ’33 Act as a grantor trust. Under the ’33 Act, subscriptions for new shares in excess of those registered requires additional filings with the SEC.
Nearly all other U.S. iShares are exchange-traded funds (ETFs), registered as investment companies under the ’40 Act. The ’40 Act provides for the continuous offering of shares and does not require registration of additional shares as the fund grows due to investor demand in connection to new subscriptions.
Since the start of 2016, in response to global macroeconomic conditions, demand for gold and for IAU has surged among global investors. IAU has $8 billion in assets under management, and has expanded $1.4 billion year to date. February marked its largest creation activity in the last decade.
This surge in demand has led to the temporary exhaustion of IAU shares currently registered under the ’33 Act. We are registering new shares to accommodate future creations in the primary market by filing a Form 8-K to announce the resumption of the offering of new shares. The ability of authorized participants to redeem shares of IAU is not affected.
It appears the huge demand for physical gold (and lack of supply) is finally catching up with the manipulation of paper prices.
If this is anything other than a brief technical suspension, it could well unleash panic-buying as we already pointed out – there is no physical gold! 
As we previously concluded, the reality that there are just two tons of gold to satisfy delivery requsts based on accepted protocols should in itself be troubling, ignoring the latent question why so many owners of physical gold are de-warranting their holdings.
Considering there are now less than 74,000 ounces of Registered gold at the Comex, or just over 2 tonnes, we may be about to find out how right, or wrong, the skeptics are, because at this rate the combined Registered vault gold could be depleted as soon as the next delivery request is satisfied. Or isn’t.
Meanwhile, this is how gold is taking the news – it would appear that some gold is still available… one just has to pay up for it.