We had previously noted some anomalies in the reported figures for China’s gold withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) and are pleased to note that a recheck has shown that the monthly and cumulative figures as announced by the SGE have been revised and now tally. Earlier the announced cumulative total appeared to have been substantially adrift from that suggested by the monyh-by-month reported figures.The principal change is a sharp downwards revision of the gold withdrawal figures for February – a month where figures tend to be somewhat anomalous anyway because of the Chinese New Year holiday. February figures have been revised downwards sharply from 179.24 tonnes to 148.24 tonnes, while the initially reported April figure of 171.17 tonnes has been adjusted downwards to 165.78 tonnes. This brings the cumulative total for the year to date to 690.68 tonnes –only marginally higher than at the same time a year ago, and well down on the record 2015 figure.
Table: Revised SGE Monthly Gold Withdrawals (Tonnes)
|% change 2016-2017
|% change 2015-2017
|Year to date
Source: Shanghai Gold Exchange, Lawrieongold.com
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The Shanghai Gold Exchange’s announcement of the full year figure for gold withdrawals for calendar 2015 show that a huge new record of 2,596.4 tonnes was taken out – 19% higher than the previous record of 2,182 tonnes recorded in 2013. This is just short of the 2,600 tonnes we had been estimating. In the four days of trading in the final week of the year 40.94 tonnes were withdrawn – suggesting around 50 tonnes for a full 5-day week including Jan 1st – which is pretty much on par with other recent weekly withdrawal figures despite any minor disruption from the big Christian Christmas holiday period which has little, but possibly some very minor, impact on Chinese domestic trade. This time of year does seem to see strong gold withdrawal levels from the SGE in the buildup to the Chinese New Year – a traditional time of gift giving in the Middle Kingdom of which gold ornaments and jewellery tend to figure strongly. This year the Chinese New Year falls on February 8th.
Here’s Nick Laird of Sharelynx’s chart setting out the SGE withdrawal figures for the past eight years, which demonstrates nicely the huge (and very consistent apart from a blip in 2014) upwards trend in withdrawals as China’s economy has continued to grow and individual purchasing power has grown with it. The growth in the economy may be slowing down, but it is still growing at a rate which any Western Government will envy enormously.
While the Chinese central bank – the People’s Bank of china (PBoC) – seems to equate SGE withdrawals to total Chinese demand, Western analysts tend to suggest that the actual figures are considerably lower and come up with various, and differing, reasons for the possible discrepancy. Indeed their consumption estimates may well prove to be around 1,500 tonnes lower than those the SGE withdrawals figure might suggest.
As we have noted before, a significant proportion of the difference is down to how the analysts estimate ‘consumption’. Demand categories such as gold used in financial transactions tends to be ignored by the analysts, yet this is still gold flowing into China and in terms of gold movement from West to East remains hugely relevant.
But these same western analysts also seem to ignore the evidence of known Chinese gold import figures and China’s own gold production. Together these look as though they will have totalled just short of 2,000 tonnes in 2014. It seems strange that in the age old argument as to which country is the world’s largest gold consumer – China or India – that the analysts pretty well equate India’s reported gold imports as that nation’s consumption, while not applying the same principle to China’s known gold imports plus its own domestic gold output (reckoned to be around 470 tonnes in 2015).
Whatever the analysts may suggest, SGE withdrawal levels in comparison with previous years, have to be a good indicator of total Chinese demand (excluding Central Bank purchases which apparently don’t go through the SGE). Thus it appears Chinese gold demand remains very strong indeed despite the sharp fall in the country’s GDP growth over the past year.
Read my new post on sharpspixley.com looking at the latest Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawal figures which continue to show that SGE deliveries are continuing to head for a big new record – and that Chinese demand is alive and well.
The article also discusses the continuing anomaly between mainstream analysts’ calculations of Chinese demand and the vastly bigger SGE figures. All explainable!
To read the full article click on this link.
There has been very considerable disagreement between the levels of Shanghai Gold Exchange gold delivery figures and assessed Chinese gold demand as estimated by the mainstream precious metals analytical consultancies. The figures have been diverging and the latest differences are enormous with SGE gold withdrawals this year running at more than double the analysts’ assessments of Chinese demand. As we have pointed out beforehand, the basic difference is in the classifications of what the analysts take into their demand calculations – it would otherwise be remarkable that the differences would be so consistent within diverse analytical consultancies – so who is right?……….
This is the opening paragraph to my latest article on the Sharps Pixley website. To read the full article click on: LAWRIE WILLIAMS: Best Answer Yet to Great SGE Gold Withdrawals Anomaly?
The latest week’s figures on Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals see that the Chinese demand for gold remains enormous. It may have been exaggerated a little due to the prior week being a short trading one due to the Chinese holiday which kept the Exchange closed on the Friday and Saturday, but even so the latest week’s SGE withdrawals totalling 73.7 tonnes for the week ended September 11th is one of the highest single week figures on record – and brings this year’s total to date to just short of 1829 tonnes. This is fully 241 tonnes higher than at the same time in 2013 when the annual SGE deliveries figure was a huge new record, and 498 tonnes higher than last year – the second highest ever year for SGE withdrawals.
Surely there is some connection here between the reported rundown in COMEX Registered gold stocks and the recent backwardation in gold in London – a truly unsusual occurrence – which has been noted recently? Physical gold is very definitely flowing east – and by the SGE figures at an increasing rate. Once again we re-iterate that whether SGE withdrawals are an accurate representation of Chinese gold consumption as some Chinese officials tell us they are certainly a terrific indicator of the continuing Chinese thirst for the yellow metal.
Once again we publish the latest chart from Nick Laird’s sharelynx.com website comparing the latest SGE physical gold withdrawal figures with those at the same time in previous years showing how Chinese gold interest, if anything, is accelerating as its middle class continues to grow.
As we have noted before it looks like the SGE may be headed for a huge new record in physical gold withdrawals this year – particularly given that the final two months of the year are usually among the strongest for SGE deliveries and the current part of the year usually among the weakest. The latest projection for the full year total is 2,600 tonnes plus which represents around 80% of global new mined gold supply. If the current weekly rate holds up for the remainder of the year this percentage could be even higher. With Russian central bank purchases also high, and Indian demand to take into account to, its not surprising that Western gold stocks appear to be running down.
Another week’s gold withdrawal figures from the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) and it appears that the demand momentum is holding up – if not accelerating. The latest figures are from the week ending August 14th with the Exchange reporting flows of 65.3 tonnes out . This is an enormous figure for an August week when historically Chinese demand is usually at its lowest and follows several weeks of plus 50 tonne withdrawals at a time of year when 30 tonnes would normally be seen as a strong figure.
There are reports that demand has slowed over the past week given the recent recovery in the gold price, with Shanghai premiums falling accordingly, so the next week’s withdrawal figures will be viewed with additional interest to see if this really is the case, or whether Chinese overall ‘demand’, as expressed by SGE is still holding up well.
The latest figure for total SGE withdrawals for the year to date is now a massive 1,585 tonnes, fully 161 tonnes more than in the record 2013 year at the same time – see www.sharelynx.com chart below. A quick calculation of SGE withdrawals to date (close to 50 tonnes a week so far this year), if extended over the full year would suggest a total figure for 2015 at over 2,500 tonnes – hugely higher than the record 2013 figure of 2,181 tonnes. While one should perhaps regard a continuing weekly withdrawal rate of 50 tonnes as being an optimistic projection, it is also worth bearing in mind that SGE withdrawals are usually far stronger in Q4 than in Q3!
With the Chinese Central Bank now reporting its own monthly gold accumulations – 19 tonnes in July and these apparently are additional to the SGE reported figures, and Russia continuing to expand its gold reserves – another 12 tonnes in July – and Indian imports rising sharply according to latest Swiss gold export data, global physical gold demand appears to be running well ahead of new mined supply, although whether that makes any difference at all in a paper-gold futures led market is perhaps doubtful. But with fear stalking the Dow after a huge week of falls (around 530 points on Friday alone), and general stock market indices around the globe a sea of red, maybe at last gold sentiment is beginning to get a safe-haven boost with worries about a general worldwide stock market meltdown.
One of the big questions which the gold sector may be asking is what is the low gold price doing to Chinese demand. Have the Chinese become disillusioned with gold given they piled in so strongly in 2013 when Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals for the year hit a massive record 2,181 tonnes, but the gold price has largely been on a downwards path ever since.
We had already seen the beginnings of a pick up in Chinese demand, as expressed by SGE withdrawals, when they hit well over 60 tonnes for the week ended July 10th (see Huge latest week SGE gold withdrawal figure – 62 tonnes) all at a time when seasonality suggests Chinese demand should actually be at its lowest. But the gold price continued to fall so it would be particularly interesting to see how demand would continue, or whether it would actually increase with more bargain hunters climbing in. In the event, SGE withdrawals for the week ended July 17th have come out at the fifth highest weekly total ever – again, it should be emphasised that this high demand level has been at what is normally a very weak time of the year for Chinese demand – and brings SGE withdrawals for the year to date according to the chart below from Nick Laird’s excellent www.sharelynx.com and www.goldchartsrus.com charts sites to a huge 1,366 tonnes – probably nearly 80% of global new mined production over the same period. (Global weekly new mined gold supply is around 62 tonnes – so for the past two weeks Chinese SGE withdrawals will have actually exceeded the world’s mined supply!)
As can be seen from the above chart, SGE Withdrawals are currently running some 59 tonnes higher than at the same stage in China’s record 2013 year.
Now we will have to wait for another week to see what the past week’s gold price takedown did to Chinese SGE demand – it could well prove to have been even higher and may have helped lead to the end-week price pick up.
But a word of caution here. In China’s record 2013 year for gold demand, as expressed by SGE withdrawals, the gold price fell from a beginning of the year level of $1681.50 at the LBMA morning fix on January 2nd to 1201.50 at the close on December 31st, a decline of 28.5%. The fall was perhaps precipitated by heavy gold sales out of the major gold ETFs in the West and although these were more than counterbalanced by the Chinese figures the latter seem largely to have been ignored by the COMEX dominated market. And this year we are again beginning to see big ETF gold liquidations, albeit not at the same levels as in 2013. This year, gold opened in London on January 2nd at $1184.25. A similar 28.5% decline would take the year-end gold price down to just below the $850 level! We very much doubt this will actually happen – indeed gold could be well set for a major recovery after the absolutely blatant bear raid which has highlighted how easily the gold price can be manipulated to a previously unenlightened general public and the continuing physical gold flows from West to East have to make such manipulations more difficult as Western physical stocks are depleted.
It is also as well to note that the fall in the price of gold in dollar terms so far this year has actually been exceeded by falls in the price of copper, nickel, aluminium and iron ore in particular – See my article on Mineweb on this: Commodities collapse: It’s not just about gold. Indeed the overall commodities price crash suggests similarities to 2008 and the so called Global Financial Crisis which brought down, not only commodities, but global stocks of any kind. Are we set for a repeat? Food for thought.