China’s Gold Imports Slide in June as Rising Prices Deter Buyers

  • Purchases slowed as prices climbed, Shandong Gold’s Jiang Says
  • China’s gold consumption plunged 7.7% in 1H: Securities News

China, the world’s biggest gold consumer, cut bullion imports from Hong Kong in June as increasing prices deterred buyers and after shipments the previous month had helped replenish inventories.

Net purchases fell to 68.7 metric tons from a five-month high of 101 tons in May, according to data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department compiled by Bloomberg. The imports compared with 22.1 tons a year earlier. The mainland bought 83.4 tons, down from 122 tons in May, while exports were 14.7 tons from 20.9 tons. Mainland China doesn’t publish the data.

While there are still reasons for Chinese investors to purchase gold such as the slowing economy, a lackluster stock market and weakening currency, buyers paused on concern the advance in prices to the highest since 2014 may not hold. Demand for ornaments has slumped 17 percent in China this year, the Shanghai Securities News said Tuesday, citing the China Gold Association.

“Jewelry consumption usually comes down when prices rise,” Jiang Shu, chief analyst at Shandong Gold Financial Holdings Capital Management Co., said by phone. “As we can see, domestic demand isn’t that strong. Jewelry holdings per capita are at the global average, so there’s not much room to grow.”

Gold consumption in China fell 7.7 percent to 528.5 tons in the first half of the year, pulled down by the decline in jewelry purchases to 340.6 tons, the Securities News reported. Bar demand climbed 25 percent, while coin buying gained 17 percent, it said. Production was little changed at 229 tons.

Swiss gold shipments to China slipped to 18.5 tons in June from 19 tons in May, while exports to Hong Kong climbed to 35.8 tons from 24 tons, according to Swiss customs.

— With assistance by Winnie Zhu

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