PRECIOUS METALS

Sharp price fall triggers surge in China gold imports

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 April, 2013, 5:44am

The mainland's imports of gold from Hong Kong probably surged this month as mainlanders increased their purchases after prices fell to the lowest in more than 2-1/2 years.

Volumes for the benchmark spot contract on the Shanghai Gold Exchange exceeded 20 tonnes every day since April 16, when prices tumbled to the lowest since August 2010. That is more than four times the daily average last year, according to exchange data.

The volume reached a record 43.27 tonnes on Monday.

Gold plunged 14 per cent in two sessions to April 15 in London, the most since 1983, stoking a frenzy among coin and jewellery buyers from China to India and the United States.

Shipments to the mainland reached a record 114.405 tonnes in December, according to data from Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department, which may release this month's data in June.

"Given that the trading volume has been so huge on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, the import volume in April should definitely reach a very high level," said Qu Mingyu, a trader at Bank of China. "Whether they will reach a record remains to be seen.

The high volume on the benchmark spot contract is a reflection of very strong physical demand in China, especially from jewellery makers

"The high volume on the benchmark spot contract is a reflection of very strong physical demand in China, especially from jewellery makers."

Bullion of 99.99 per cent purity gained as much as 3.5 per cent to a two-week high of 303.50 yuan a gram (US$1,530.70 an ounce) on the Shanghai exchange.

China, which does not publish gold trade data, is the world's largest bullion consumer after India.

Spot gold traded 0.4 per cent lower at US$1,461.55 an ounce in London yesterday morning, trimming this week's gain to 4.1 per cent, the most since January last year. Prices rose earlier as much as 1.2 per cent to US$1,485.50.

While prices have advanced 11 per cent from a two-year low of US$1,321.95 on April 16, they are still 6.4 per cent below the April 11 close of US$1,561.45 that preceded the rout.

 

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