Analysts at Bloomberg have calculated that China’s gold reserves have grown from 55.38 million ounces (1,722.5 tonnes) at end October to 56.05 million ounces (1,743.3 tonnes) at end-November by taking the announced gold reserve figures in U.S. dollars for the two months and applying the LBMA gold price prevailing at the end of each month to make their estimate. The figures thus suggest that China increased its reserves by 20.8 tonnes over the period – the highest monthly increase in its gold reserves since it started announcing monthly reserve figures back in July.
There still remain doubts about the true levels of Chinese gold holdings, with many analysts believing these are still being understated, as they have been in the past when there were large time gaps – five or six years – between reserve increase announcements. China’s gold reserves are seen as of political significance with the country only letting the world know what it wishes it to believe!
Writing on www.bullionstar.com this week, Koos Jansen, who undertakes perhaps the most comprehensive research on Chinese gold policy and gold holdings of anyone, came up with his view that much of the 1,750 tonnes that have mysteriously vanished from the London Bullion Market (left London without being disclosed in UK customs statistics) in between 2011 and early 2015 went to China. This supports the analysis the PBOC is buying at a pace of 500 tonnes a year in the international OTC market (not through the SGE) and owns approximately 4,000 tonnes by now. See Koos’ blog post: Renminbi Internationalization And China’s Gold Strategy. Some commentators put the figure higher yet, as noted above, the latest official figure is less than half Jansen’s estimate.