Withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold exchange (SGE), which equal Chinese wholesale gold demand, in week 12 (March 23 – 27) accounted for 46 tonnes, down 14.5 % w/w. Year to date total withdrawals have reached 610 tonnes, up 9 % from 2014, up 33 % from 2013.
According to my textbooks the drop in price and the physical moving east was a stronger force of supply than demand. We could quantify Chinese demand as “strong”, but supply was stronger. From the World Gold Council, Gold Demand Trends Q2 2014:
The rapid 25% drop in the gold price during the April-June period of 2013 sparked a leap in gold demand that we have heard described as a ‘once in a generation’ event.
My point being, if central banks suppress the price of gold, this can only be done if physical gold is supplied to the market. So the question is, who is currently selling gold to China? (Or in the free market since the London Gold Pool collapsed in 1968.)
China is the largest miner of gold at 450 tonnes a year, though to satisfy domestic demand additional gold is imported; in 2013 Chinese net import exploded to 1,507 tonnes, my estimate for 2014 is at least 1,250 tonnes and year to date China has imported well over 400 tonnes. Is this sold by institutional investors in London (the LBMA system) or by central banks? Eventually time will tell. In the meantime I will continue to research how much gold is flowing to Asia and if there is any gold left in Fort Knox (read this and this post for my Fort Knox research).
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