According to the latest numbers figures by the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, China has imported less gold in May. Net gold imports dropped from 67,04 tonnes in April to 52,61 tonnes of gold in May. Imports through Hong Kong have been falling since February and reached a 16-month low in May.
The decline in imports could partially be explained by lower Chinese demand for gold, because the premium on the precious metal in China has dropped substantially in the past twelve months. Another explanation for the decline could be the increase in direct imports to Shanghai and Beijing. How much metal is imported directly remains unknown, since the Chinese government does not provide figures. Because of the increasing direct imports, we cannot make a good guess on the total Chinese import figure.
China imported less gold in May
Gold demand waning
A gold trader explained to Reuters how gold futures in Shanghai are being traded at a discount to the international London gold price. This development suggests Chinese demand has cooled down somewhat from the 2013 high. Last year Chinese bank imported a total of 1.158,15 tonnes of gold through Hong Kong, when the price of the yellow metal dropped the most in more than three decades.
Since the beginning of this year, gold has advanced 10,9% in euro’s and 13,5% in Chinese yuan. In many Asian countries it is common practice to buy physical gold as a hedge against currency devaluation. Last year, the Chinese bought a substantial amount of gold, after the price dropped more than 10% in just two days. Now the price is rising again, Chinese are less eager to purchase the metal.