China Loves West’s 99 Fine

Richard (Rick) Mills
Ahead of the Herd

Page 1 of 2

 

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information

 

According to Bloomberg, whose calculations were based on Hong Kong customs data, net gold imports into China more than doubled in the first half of 2013 to 493 metric tons, up from roughly 239 tons over the same period in 2012.

 

The China Gold Association said gold consumption in China jumped 54 percent to 706.36 metric tons in the first six months of 2013.

 

Bloomberg reported takeovers and asset purchases by China’s gold mining companies reached a record $2.24 billion this year, up considerably from 2012’s record of $1.96 billion worth of M&A activity.

 

Domestic Chinese gold deposits are less than five percent of the global total and cannot supply growing Chinese consumer demand so Chinese producers are aggressively buying up gold companies and mines.

 

Bloomberg

 

And China has a large foreign reserve bank account with which to work… According to Bloomberg China’s foreign reserves (30.2 percent of the world total at the end of 2012) surpassed the value of all official bullion holdings in January 2004 and rose to $3.3 trillion at the end of 2012. Two-thirds of China’s assets are dollar-denominated, that’s a lot of U.S. dollars that they can turn into physical assets and they are working hard to do so.

 

The World Gold Council (WGC) estimates Chinese consumer demand may top 900 tons this year handily beating China’s record 778.6 tons of demand in 2011. Owning gold was banned in China for most of the 20th century so the Chinese are playing catch up to India’s average yearly imports of 963 tons of gold – 2013 could be the year China imports more gold then India.

 

Premiums paid by jewelers for physical supply in the first half of 2013 jumped fourfold in China - up 45 percent.

 

In the second quarter of 2013 consumer demand for gold jumped 71 percent in India, last year’s biggest gold buyer, but over the same time period gold demand gained 87 percent in China, 2012s second largest buyer.

Mainland Chinese purchasers have been ferocious. First, they emptied stores in their own country. Caibai, Beijing’s largest gold merchant, had a queue 30 feet out the door on the morning of the 19th. “So many people in line,” remarked a customer in Nanjing, where one person splashed out 2.9 million yuan on ten gold bars each weighing a kilogram. Retailers ran out of stock in Guangzhou. The China Gold Association reported that on the 15th and 16th retail sales of gold tripled across China. Daily sales soared to five times the usual level at one retail chain.

 

Volume on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, considered a proxy for the metal’s demand in China, surged, setting consecutive records of 30.4 metric tons on the 19th and 43.3 tons on the 22nd. The previous record was 22.0 tons on February 18 of this year.

 

As Chinese emptied the shelves in their own country, they also went south and swarmed shops in Hong Kong, sometimes in groups. Chow Tai Fook, the world’s largest jeweler by market capitalization, said some stores popular with Mainland Chinese ran out of gold bars and that demand had not been as strong since the late 1980s.

 

Demand for “9999” bullion—99.99% pure gold—was five times normal according to Haywood Cheung Tak-hay, president of the Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society. His organization effectively ran out of holdings as members tried to meet supply shortfalls. “In terms of volume, I haven’t seen this gold rush for over 20 years,” Cheung told the Financial Times. “Older members who have been in the business for 50 years haven’t seen such a thing.” Gordon G. Chang, 4/28/2013,China Goes Gold Crazy

It has been reported that on June 14th 2013 over 10,000 Chinese lined up, in the streets of Jinan, to buy gold bullion.

 

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG opened new eastern gold vaults this year.

 


 

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