Gold imports by China from Hong Kong more than doubled to an all-time high in March as buyers in the biggest consumer after India boosted purchases, underscoring increased bullion demand in the world’s second-largest economy.
Mainland buyers purchased 223,519 kilograms (223.52 metric tons), including scrap, compared with 97,106 kilograms in February, according to Hong Kong government data yesterday. Net imports by the mainland, after deducting flows from China into Hong Kong, were 130,038 kilograms compared with 60,947 kilograms a month earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations.
The shipments preceded gold’s plunge into a bear market last month, with prices tumbling 14 percent in the two days through April 15 in the worst drop in three decades. The slump led to a surge in demand for jewelry, coins and bars from India and the U.S to China. Separate data yesterday showed China’s gold usage rose 26 percent in the first quarter as prices fell.
“This is quite out of expectation as all these imports were done before the market slump in April,” said Qu Mingyu, a trader at Bank of China, one of the country’s three largest bullion banks. “Judging from the explosive growth of trading volume on the Shanghai Gold Exchange in the second half of April, and anecdotes that many jewelry shops are sold out throughout the country, imports might be even more substantial in April.”
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