While the frenetic pace of the gold deliveries out of the Shanghai Gold Exchange has slowed a little following the Golden Week holiday last month, they are still continuing at a weekly rate which, if continued for the rest of the year, will bring total withdrawals for the full year to over 2,600 tonnes – a massive amount and comfortably in excess of the 2013 record of 2,181 tonnes. Indeed the 2013 total will almost certainly already have been exceeded this past week – a full eight weeks before the year-end – with these figures to be announced next Friday.
We think that 2,600 tonne plus estimate above will actually be exceeded as, historically, Chinese demand tends to pick up again as the Chinese New Year – with its associated gift giving – approaches as jewellers and other fabricators stock up to meet anticipated demand.
Latest gold export figures from Hong Kong to mainland China are also running strong with a net 97.242 tonnes delivered to the mainland by this route in September. Hong Kong remains almost certainly the biggest conduit for Chinese mainland gold imports, but is no longer so dominant that flows via this route can be taken as a proxy for total Chinese demand – but certainly still remain a significant indicator. (See: August UK gold exports direct to mainland China dwarf Hong Kong)
Interestingly even the mainstream analysts, who seem to downplay Chinese demand figures, do seem to be coming round to the recognition that Chinese retail demand is again picking up. We are pretty sure they will end the year confirming that China remains the world’s biggest gold consumer again thus beating demand from India, which itself also seems to have been picking up again this year. Whether this will be adversely affected by Prime Minister Modi’s gold monetization schemes remains to be seen, but we suspect that any effect will be insignificant – at least initially.