January 13, 2012

China Hoarding Gold

Traders turn bullish as gold rallies

A wave of Chinese gold buying has injected new life into gold traders, who are feeling bullish once again after the precious metal has begun to regain lost ground.

Bloomberg reported that in November Mainland China imported nearly 102.8 metric tons of gold, worth about $5.4 billion. The U.S. Mint, too, has benefited from soaring sales of American Eagle coins in the first 12 days of the new year, with 85,500 ounces of them flying out the door. If the rest of the month holds to that pace, sales could hit 213,750 ounces–the most since December of 2009.

Despite having sunk to within a percentage point of a bear market on Dec. 29, bullion has rebounded 6.7%. ETF holdings of gold look to see their largest weekly expansion since the middle of November, and are within 2% of an all-time high.

Ross Norman, chief executive officer of Sharps Pixley Ltd., a brokerage handling physical bullion in London, was quoted saying, “The thing that’s caught people’s minds is the massive increase in Chinese buying. Gold has demonstrated time and time again its ability to hold purchasing power. It looks expensive and people talk about bubbles, but it’s not.”

Gold fell below its 200-day moving average for the first time since January 2009 on Dec. 29, after losing nearly 19% from its record closing price of $1,891.90 an ounce on Aug. 22. But it appears to be roaring back, with prices closing above the moving average on Jan. 10 with the possibility that China is adding to its gold reserves. China outpaced India as the world’s largest gold consumer in Q3 of 2011. Worries about the debt crisis in the eurozone leading to recession have also fueled sales.

A strengthening U.S. economy, say analysts, is holding gold back from even more spectacular gains, with a survey of analysts expecting gold to gain even more in the coming week.

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