Gold's Rally Keeping Chinese Gold Demand SubduedBy Kitco News
Tuesday March 29, 2016 10:24
(Kitco News) - Gold imports into China from Hong Kong saw a slight boost last month, compared to its dismal start to the year.
Tuesday, according to export data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, 42.9 tonnes of gold was shipped to mainland China, up from January’s import of only 17.9 tonnes of gold.
However, according trade data from Switzerland, imports into one of the world’s largest gold consuming nations, remain subdued as February’s shipment was the lowest for that month since 2012. Swiss export data shows that gold shipments to China totaled 27.2 tonnes last month, down from 43.4 tonnes at the start of the year.
Simona Gambarini, commodity economist at Capital Economics said while Lunar New Year celebrations --- held at the beginning of February -- could be skewing the numbers, she sees evidence of lower demand.
“Indeed, total imports by China fell by 16% [year-over-year] for the first two months of the year,” she said.
Garmbarini added that gold’s rally since the start of the year could have created subdued demand. Gold prices were up more than 16% by the end of February, hitting its highest level in 12 months.
Prices have seen a modest correction in late-March, which Gambarini said should help boost imports heading into the spring season.
“Chinese buyers tend to be very price-sensitive and the rally in the gold price since the start of the year might have prompted some buyers to delay their purchases. That said, the recent correction in the price might offer a good buying opportunity,” she said.
Some analysts also have also that China’s domestic market could still be working through the stockpiles after more than 100 tonnes of gold was imported in December, the highest level in two years.
Georgette Boele, coordinator of foreign exchange and precious metals strategy at ABN Amro said she expect to see continued growth in gold imports into China throughout the year.
“Demand for jewelry fabrication and for investment will likely pick up. Not anything dramatic, but better than previous years…” she said in an email response to Kitco News.
Boele added that continued economic uncertainty in China along with a growing middle class will be positive contributions to gold demand throughout the year.