China’s Gold Imports Rise for a Third Month on Jewelry Sales

China’s gold imports from Hong Kong rose for a third month as increasing jewelry sales countered weakening demand for the metal as an investment amid falling prices.

Net imports totaled 69 metric tons in October, compared with 61.7 tons the previous month and 129.9 tons a year earlier, according to calculations by Bloomberg News based on data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department today. Exports to the territory from China rose to 42.4 tons in October from 30.1 tons in September, the statistics department said in a separate statement. The figures don’t represent all imports of the metal by China, which doesn’t publish such data.

The value of China’s jewelry sales in October rose 2.9 percent from the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Bullion fell below $1,200 an ounce last month and erased its gains for the year as the U.S. economy improved and the dollar strengthened on prospects for higher interest rates, damping demand for precious metals as an inflation hedge.

“Higher jewelry sales for the third month defied some earlier forecasts that Chinese demand would falter after falling prices,” Liu Xu, an independent gold analyst in Beijing, said by phone before the data was released.

Gold for immediate delivery in London rose 0.4 percent to $1,202.32 an ounce at 6:41 p.m. in Beijing, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. Bullion of 99.99 percent purity on the Shanghai Gold Exchange fell for the fourth month in October, dropping by 4.5 percent.

The expansion of trading hubs in Asia will help boost demand in China by 20 percent in three years, Aram Shishmanian, chief executive officer of the World Gold Council, said in a Sept. 18 statement. The country, which overtook India as the biggest buyer last year, gave foreign investors direct access to its bullion market for the first time in September.

Mainland China imported 111.4 tons last month, including scrap, compared with 91.8 tons in September and 147.9 tons a year earlier, data from the Hong Kong government showed.

— With assistance by Feiwen Rong

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