China is on a massive gold buying spree

Not only who’s buying it, but who’s selling it? It’s likely the United States.

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China’s government doesn’t share exact figures, but the vast majority of gold heading into mainland China passes through Hong Kong, which does make its records public.

Gold imports to China have surged over 700% since 2010, according to the latest data from Hong Kong.

Exactly what China is doing with all that gold remains somewhat of a mystery. The increasingly wealthy Chinese are buying, but that doesn’t explain all the jump in demand.

The government says its gold reserves have grown only a little in recent years. Experts question whether China is telling the whole truth.

“China has a lot more gold than they declare,” says John LaForge, head of Wells Fargo’s commodities team.

Who’s buying the gold?

Much of the gold going into China ends up in the hands of wealthy Chinese.

From 1950 until 2004, private citizens in China were forbidden from owning gold. Now there’s huge demand for the shiny metal, according to an extensive report by the World Gold Council.

But the council concluded that gold imports “exceeded by some margin” the demand from people who want new rings and necklaces. The other big buyer is the Chinese government.

China was notoriously secretive about its government gold reserves. It reported 1,054 tons of gold in the spring of 2009.

It didn’t disclose its holdings again until 2015. Bloomberg Intelligence estimated that China’s government likely had over 3,500 tons of gold by then.

Full article: China is on a massive gold buying spree (CNN Money)

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