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According to Philip Klapwij-- Global Head of Metals Analytics – Thompson Reuters GFMS, gold imports to China is mainly routed through Hong Kong which accounts for around 800 tons of gold, and a "substantial part..

09 Nov 2012

By Rakesh Neelakandan
With 800 tons of gold poised to be imported by China this year, the Middle Kingdom is supposed to equalise India in gold imports. This year, India too is expected to import only 800 tons of gold. [For the next year the country may see only imports to the tune of 550 tons as the consumers in India continue to shy away from imports on government imposing hefty import-duty on gold and rising gold prices.]

But how gennuine are China's gold import statistics?

See this excerpt from GFMS August newsletter

“Reviewing the available customs data reveals bullion flows from Hong Kong to mainland China posted a massive increase this year, with total volumes in the first five months rising over 700% year-on-year. On first glance, this may suggest that demand in China has continued to strengthen with these imports destined for fabricators producing jewellery and investment products. However, our information collection from various trade sources indicated that these Hong Kong export numbers have been highly inflated by growing round tripping between mainland China and Hong Kong whereby local companies used gold to engage in currency and interest rate arbitrage transactions.”

According to Philip Klapwij-- Global Head of Metals Analytics – Thompson Reuters GFMS, gold imports to China is mainly routed through Hong Kong which accounts for around 800 tons of gold, and a "substantial part" of those will be 'round-tripped', a practice by which gold is transported to a certain location, then quickly re-exported.

"Over 40 percent of flows from Hong Kong in 2012 we estimate is for 'round tripping," he revealed and was quoted by Reuters as saying.

That means equivalent to 320 tons of gold is used in round-tripping! Now, if this round tripping continues on a day-to-day basis one may have to question the genuineness of China's gold import statistics. 


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