The best gold ETFs of 2022 & 2023

What are the best gold ETFs in Australia? What are the top gold ETFs for tracking the gold price? In this short guide, I take a quick look at the best gold ETFs in Australia, including the ETF Securities Physical Gold ETF (ASX: GOLD), Perth Mint Gold ETF (ASX: PMGOLD) and BetaShares Physically Backed Gold ETF (Hedged) (ASX: QAU).

Gold price

The chart above tracks the gold price over time. You can change the length of time in the gold price chart to reflect the period you want to analyse. A comparison of gold ETFs to major asset classes is shown below.

Top 3 gold ETFs Australia explained

In this punchy 2-minute video, lead analyst Owen Rask explains the structure and style of Australia’s 3 most popular gold ETFs: GOLD, QAU & PMGOLD.

In short:

  • The GOLD ETF from ETF Securities is physically backed, unhedged and allocated.
  • The QAU ETF from BetaShares is physically backed, hedged into Australian dollars and allocated.
  • The PMGOLD ETF from Perth Mint is not physically backed but represents a right to buy gold from the Perth Mint, with a West Australian Government guarantee.

Top gold ETFs performance 

Please note, the performance of the top GOLD ETFs in the chart below may be subject to API changes or data discrepancies (e.g. a stock split undertaking by ETF Securities’ GOLD ETF). Please refer to the gold performance table below, which uses data from the ASX.

What about MNRS & GDX?

The VanEck Gold Miners ETF (ASX: GDX) and Betashares Global Gold Miners ETF (Hedged) (ASX: MNRS) are not true gold ETFs — they invest in shares of gold mining companies. For this reason, the MNRS & GDX ETFs are very different to the three core gold ETFs: GOLD, QAU & PMGOLD.

ETF

5-year total return (p.a.)

GOLD

9.77%

QAU

5.65%

PMGOLD

10.32%

MNRS

7.19%

GDX

8.21%

Source: ASX data, time period ending June 30, 2022.

The MNRS & GDX ETFs are more like equity/share market ETFs. View our list of Australian shares ETFs.

We expect gold ETFs like PMGOLD, QAU and GOLD to have lower volatility and more price stability because investors are not exposing themselves to specific company risks. For example, if you invest in Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) shares, one of Australia’s largest gold miners, you’re not only being exposed to the price of gold (which is its product) but also the execution of its management team, failures at mine sites, exploration activity (good and bad), and so on.

It’s not say investing in gold mining companies or ETFs is wrong. Just that it’s a different experience to buying a true gold ETF.

Lowest fees gold ETFs

ETF

Fee (MER)

GOLD

0.4%

QAU

0.59%

PMGOLD

0.15%

As you can see above, most of the top gold ETFs have reasonably low fees, though PMGOLD’s unique structure enables it to have the lowest management fee (MER), according to data from July 2022.

What is the best gold ETF?

The answer to this question is “it depends”. The best gold ETF for one investor might not suit another. For example, all else being equal, if you believe the Australian dollar is going to get weaker (i.e. US dollars will be worth more in 12 months), you might choose the GOLD ETF from ETF Securities because then you have your gold priced in US dollars. However, if you have the opposite view, the QAU ETF from Betashares might be better suited. Finally, many investors like the PMGOLD ETF because of its low fees.

By far — a factor of 380% — the ETF Securities GOLD ETF is the largest and most popular gold ETF in Australia. As of June 30th 2022 it had $2.67 billion invested versus $682 million for PMGOLD and $348 million for QAU. So far, judging by the sheer amount of money invested, the GOLD ETF from ETF Securities ETF is the top gold ETF. But, as we noted it depends on market conditions and investor outlooks, so it might not always be…

To view the full range of ETFs available on the ASX, click here. Or to get our premium research and model portfolios, click here.