China steps up gold imports in 2022: Swiss gold imports at 4-year highs, Russia gold imports rise
(Kitco News) China imported more gold from Switzerland last year and stepped up gold purchases from Russia, according to the latest import data releases.
Swiss exports of gold to China were at four-year highs in 2022, with China taking in 524 tonnes of gold worth around $33 billion. This is a massive increase from 354 tonnes reported in 2021 and the most since 2018, according to Swiss customs data.
China is the world’s number one gold consumer, followed by India, with a focus on retail investment and jewelry demand.
In a separate dataset published by Russia’s customs agency over the weekend, China also increased its purchases of Russian gold. China bought 6.6 tons of gold from Russia in 2022, which is an increase of 67% from 2021, local Russian media reported.
China’s central bank also stepped up gold purchases at the end of last year, buying 30 tons of gold in December, which followed its November purchase of 32 tons of gold — the People's Bank of China's first officially recorded purchase since September 2019. China's gold reserves now total 2,010 tons.
Lower gold prices in 2022, economic uncertainty, and inflation worries spurred additional buying from countries.
Swiss exports to Turkey, Singapore, and Thailand also hit multi-year highs last year. Switzerland is known as the world's biggest gold refining hub.
Singapore imported 69 tonnes of gold from Switzerland, more than doubling its 2021 total and buying the most since 2017. Thailand purchased 92 tonnes, which was the most since 2013.
Switzerland also exported 188 tonnes to Turkey, which was the most on record, which goes back to 2012.
Meanwhile, Swiss exports to India slowed to 224 tonnes in 2022 from 507 tonnes in 2021.