Latest statistics from the USGS make for interesting reading – not just because they show U.S. gold output has been continuing to fall – it’s down 7.4% year on year to date – but for the country by country export data. We have been commenting on Mineweb.com for much of the past year that imports to mainland China via Hong Kong remain significant, but by no means as significant as in the past. We have come up with this viewpoint through extrapolation of Chinese Shanghai Gold Exchange data which has been high – particularly in the final quarter of the year – even while net gold imports from Hong Kong have slipped sharply. Thats an anomaly that is hard to explain unless substantial gold imports are coming in by other routes.
But I’ve just received some interesting statistical data from the USGS which shows that a substantial proportion of U.S. gold exports to Hong Kong and China in October went directly to the mainland. Further checking reveals that this was also the case in September, although not before. The October figures were 12.9 tonnes to Hong Kong and 7.4 tonnes directly to the mainland – or 36% of the total. By contrast, in October 2013, only 0.36 tonnes were shipped direct to the mainland and 17.8 tonnes to Hong Kong. A very substantial change indeed. These latest figures tie in remarkably well with our opinions on the breakdown of Chinese gold imports and that while Hong Kong remains a significant import route, it is not nearly so important in the overall picture as it used to be.
I have commented recently (yesterday) in an article on Mineweb on the continuing emphasis by mainstream media on the Hong Kong to China export figures which taken at face value would seem to present a misleading picture. Do click on How significant was the 32% fall in Hong Kong exports to China to read this article in full. A second more detailed article on the U.S. October mine production and export data is also now up on Mineweb. Click on U.S. 10-month gold mine output falls 7% y-on-y to read.