by Lawrence Williams, MineWeb.com
Somewhat coincidentally the latest figure for net Chinese gold imports through Hong Kong for the month of May, as reported by Reuters, suggest that imports for the year to the end of that month are now at almost exactly the same level as a year ago, with the exceptionally high January and February figures now countered by lower levels for the following three months. As we pointed out when writing about the previous month’s net import figures, the latest data do indeed suggest that the market for gold in China has been cooling, at least for the time being – and there is nothing to suggest that there is any turnaround yet and the probability now looks to be that overall Chinese gold imports this year through Hong Kong at least will indeed fall from last year’s record levels.
But even so China remains a huge importer of gold through officially recorded channels (Hong Kong), although imports through other routes (notably Shanghai and Beijing to name but two) will be adding to the total – but unannounced. Indeed with new regulations it is indeed possible that imports through these other ports of entry m ay be rising. Add to all this China’s own gold production – reported at 430 tonnes last year and likely a few percentage points higher this = and we still will likely see China consuming well over 1,000 tonnes again in 2014.
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