Soros Cut Gold ETF Holdings Before Price Crash

George Soros
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George Soros

George Soros, founder and chairman of Soros Fund Management reduced his holdings of exchange-traded products backed by gold before a price plunge last month that saw the precious metal lose 12 percent in value.

A Securities and Exchange Commission filing for Soros Fund Management shows that Soros reduced his stake in the SPDR Gold Trust from 600,000 shares in December 31 to 530,900 by March 31. The stake is now valued at just below $82 million, according to the report.

Speaking to a Chinese newspaper in April, Soros said that gold had disappointed the public, and was meant to be classed as the ultimate safe haven.

(Read More: Gold Demand Slides to 3-Year Low In First Quarter)

"When the euro was close to collapsing in the last year, actually gold went down, because if people needed to sell something, they could sell gold. Therefore they sold gold. So gold went down together with everything else," he told the South China Morning Post.

"Gold was destroyed as a safe haven, proved to be unsafe. Because of the disappointment, most people are reducing their holdings of gold."

A week after the interview, gold did go down. The metal posted its biggest one-day drop in 30 years, falling to as low as $1,339 an ounce. The precious metal pared back some losses but now stands back below $1,400 at $1,391 on Thursday.

(Read More: Traders Agree: Gold Will Keep Dropping)

Overall total global demand for gold in the first quarter of 2013 fell 19 percent from the last quarter of 2012, according to the latest report by the World Gold Council. Marcus Grubb, the managing director of investment at the Council said the price drop in April, fueled by non-physical moves in the market, proved to be the catalyst for a surge of buying that has left many retailers short of stock and refineries introducing waiting lists for deliveries.

"Sales of bars and coins, jewelry and consumption in the technology sector still make up 81 percent of the market," he said in a press statement on Thursday.

"What these figures show is that even before the events of April, the fundamentals of the gold market remain robust with growing demand in India and China, central banks consistently adding gold to their reserves and strong buying of investment products such as gold bars and coins."

(Read More: 'Gold Is Toast!' Why It Could Drop to $500: Pro)

Meanwhile, Soros did increase his stake in gold miners, including a mining exchange traded fund called Market Vectors, the filing showed. Between December and March Soros increased his bet from $1.5 million to $2.66 million, with a holding now worth over $100 million.

By's Matt Clinch; Follow him on Twitter @ mattclinch81