China’s gold imports from Hong Kong rose in February amid increasing demand and as the country allowed more banks to import the precious metal.
Net imports totaled 109.2 metric tons last month, compared with 83.6 tons in January and 60.9 tons a year earlier, according to calculations by Bloomberg News based on data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department today. Exports to Hong Kong from China fell to 15.8 tons in February from 19 tons in January, the Statistics Department said in a separate statement. Mainland China doesn’t publish such data.
Bullion is up 9.1 percent in 2014 on rising consumption in Asia and as emerging-market turmoil and signs the U.S. recovery may be faltering boost haven demand. China overtook India as the largest user last year as the biggest price drop in more than three decades spurred purchases, the World Gold Council said last month. China granted licenses for importing gold to Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., HSBC Holdings Plc and China Everbright Bank Co., Reuters reported in January.
“Imports were boosted by more participants in the market,” said Duan Shihua, a partner at Shanghai Leading Investment Management Co. “Some buyers may be replenishing inventory after robust sales during the Lunar New Year.”
Imports were underpinned by demand from traders using bullion purchases in trade financing deals to obtain short-term bank credit, said Liu Xu, precious metals analyst at Capital Futures Co. in Beijing.
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