Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Chinese People Are Buying Massive Amounts of Gold

Gordon Chang reports for Forbes:
Mainland Chinese purchasers have been ferocious.  First, they emptied stores in their own country.  Caibai, Beijing’s largest gold merchant, had a queue 30 feet out the door on the morning of the 19th.  “So many people in line,” remarked a customer in Nanjing, where one person splashed out 2.9 million yuan on ten gold bars each weighing a kilogram.  Retailers ran out of stock in Guangzhou.  The China Gold Association reported that on the 15th and 16th retail sales of gold tripled across China.  Daily sales soared to five times the usual level at one retail chain.

Volume on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, considered a proxy for the metal’s demand in China, surged, setting consecutive records of 30.4 metric tons on the 19th and 43.3 tons on the 22nd.  The previous record was 22.0 tons on February 18 of this year.

As Chinese emptied the shelves in their own country, they also went south and swarmed shops in Hong Kong, sometimes in groups.  Chow Tai Fook, the world’s largest jeweler by market capitalization, said some stores popular with Mainland Chinese ran out of gold bars and that demand had not been as strong since the late 1980s.

Demand for “9999” bullion—99.99% pure gold—was five times normal according to Haywood Cheung Tak-hay, president of the Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society.  His organization effectively ran out of holdings as members tried to meet supply shortfalls.  “In terms of volume, I haven’t seen this gold rush for over 20 years,” Cheung told the Financial Times.  “Older members who have been in the business for 50 years haven’t seen such a thing.

(ht  Christopher Barcelo)


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