Posted By Isaac Nuriani
I, for one, refuse to engage in the current fashion of China-bashing. Sure, they’ve had their economic ups and downs in the last year. But the Wall Street Journal reports that these intelligent and perspicacious people are hoarding gold despite the fact that the gold jewelry market is currently out of season. It’s like we all went out today and bought Christmas trees – it might seem odd.
Hell no, it’s not odd, its smart. Gold’s price, which has climbed 15 percent from its mid-December nadir, is drawing China’s attention. The country is already responsible for utilizing more than 20 percent of world gold supplies. We are well past the Chinese lunar New Year from early February, but demand for the precious metal is transcending the demand by the jewelry industry. Instead, Chinese gold collectors are all fired up over bullion gold coins and bars.
“It has been very, very busy for us in the last few weeks,” exclaimed Finemetal Asia CEO Padraig J. Seif, a huge Hong Kong-bullion dealer that sold more gold in March’s first three weeks than for the entire month of February.
Mr. Seif’s biggest seller has been an order of magnitude increase in the sale of 250-gram bars at an approximate price of $10,000, and a 50 percent sales increase in 1,000-gram kilobars. The demand is coming from investors, not jewelry makers.
Quarterly gold-sale numbers from the World Gold Council lists jewelry separately from coins and bars. Its newest information, —for Q4 2015—showed that mainland China gobbled up 25 percent more gold than a year ago, despites a 1 percent decline in gold-jewelry sales.
Instability in China’s currency and stock markets, in addition to its manic real-estate markets in its largest cities, has made property investment very costly and is forcing Chinese investors to buy gold instead.
Asians have played a big role in the current bull market for gold, despite lowered demand for gold jewelry. Supply has gotten so tight that gold sellers are tacking on a high premium, about a buck or two, above international spot rates. That’s about double the usual premium.
A gold clerk at a Shanghai jewelry shop acknowledges that customers have lately been purchasing gold bullion rather than jewelry.
Look, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. And right now, there is a tornado of gold demand pushing up prices of our favorite metal. My thought is: 1,382,323,332 Chinese people are on to something big, something you ignore at your own risk.
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