Bridgewater hedge fund boosts gold ETF investment to over $1 billion

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Hedge fund Bridgewater Associates raised its investment in gold-backed exchange-traded funds by a third in the second quarter, buying the equivalent of 170,000 ounces of gold worth $340 million at current prices, a regulatory filing showed.

The move is part of a wider rush among investors to buy gold, which they hope will hold its value as the coronavirus crisis upends markets and pushes down returns on bonds.

Bullion prices have already surged almost 30% this year to record levels around $2,000 an ounce.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) store gold on investors’ behalf.

Bridgewater, led by billionaire Ray Dalio, bought 1.4 million shares in the SPDR Gold Shares ETF, equivalent to around 130,000 ounces of gold, in the April-June quarter, it said in the filing on Wednesday.

It also bought 4.1 million shares in the iShares Gold Trust representing around 41,000 ounces of gold.

Its investment in SPDR Gold Shares was worth $914 million on June 30, up from $601 million at the end of March, when it had just over 4 million shares in the fund.

Its stake in iShares was worth $268.4 million, up from $176 million in March, when it had 11.7 million shares.

The rise in the value of Bridgewater’s position is due both to the addition of shares and the higher gold price.

The total value of Bridgewater’s assets included in the 13F filing, which discloses equity investments, was $6 billion.

Reporting by Peter Hobson; editing by David Evans