Gold News

Gold Bullion Imports to China Rise, Scrap Sales Surge in India as G20 Splits Over Syria & US Fed Tapering

GOLD BULLION prices for London delivery rose back to last week's closing level of $1395 per ounce Thursday morning, reversing an overnight drop of 1.0% as Asian stock markets rose but Europe stocks held flat.
 
The central banks of Japan, the UK and the Eurozone all kept their monetary policy unchanged at today's monthly meetings.
 
US Treasury bonds fell ahead of private US jobs data – expected to show a slight fall in new hiring, before Friday's official Non-Farms Payrolls release.
 
Silver prices meantime joined gold bullion in rising back to last week's finish, unwinding last night's 1.5% drop to trade back above $23.50 per ounce.
 
"China's seeing robust gold sales this year," said Duan Shihua at Shanghai Leading Investment Management, commenting today to Bloomberg after official data showed gold bullion imports to the world's second-largest economy rising again.
 
"The high prices in China's domestic market in July encouraged importers."
 
Gold bullion premiums in China, over and above the benchmark London settlement price, averaged some 2.1% in July, according to Bloomberg.
 
Gold that month began a 20% rise from 3-year lows, while net imports of gold bullion to mainland China through Hong Kong rising to 113.2 tonnes – the highest since March – from 101 in June.
 
Physical gold contracts on the Shanghai Gold Exchange ended today 0.8% above London spot. Premiums on gold bullion in India meantime – the world's No.1 consumer nation – today fell hard, Singapore's Business Times reports, as wholesalers reacted to Wednesday's relaxation of the summer import ban by the Reserve Bank.
 
Even though Indian gold bullion imports could be limited to just 300 tonnes over the next 12 months, according to the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council's Pankaj Parekh, down from almost 900 tonnes in 2012, premiums in Mumbai today fell $5 per ounce.
 
"Due to yesterday's circular, people are expecting consignments will start soon," the paper quotes Haresh Soni, chairman of All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation.
 
Tight supplies and high gold bullion premiums also mean "Scrap [supply] is increasing every day," says Soni, because "people are reselling jewellery" as well as gold bars and coins.
 
"Investors are selling gold all across the country," agrees Prithviraj Kothari, director of the Bombay Bullion Association and managing director of leading dealer Riddhisiddhi Bullions Ltd
 
"There is a liquidity crisis and people are selling and putting the money in the bank. There is a huge amount of scrap supply coming into the market."
 
Indian gold bullion premiums fell Thursday to $25-30 per ounce, down from as high as $40 earlier this week.
 
Commenting on the US Federal Reserve's apparent plans to start tapering its $85 billion per month QE program in September, "The G20 Summit is an important forum to seek an international climate that is beneficial for all countries," said Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh ahead of joining the meeting of top 20 economy leaders in St.Petersburg today.
 
Faced with a current account crisis which has driven the Rupee to record lows on the currency markets, down 17% for 2013 to date, "India has emphasised [to the US] there has to  be a predictability about the withdrawal," adds secretary for economic affairs Arvind Mayaram, "as it has a spill-over impact on the emerging markets."
 
The Mumbai stock market meantime jumped 2.1% on Thursday, led by the fastest surge in banking shares for more than two years, after new central bank governor Raghuram Rajan announced a "swap line" for foreign currencies worth some $10 billion, plus fresh deregulation of the sector.
 
"It's all about restoring confidence and that Rajan has definitely done," says Sunil Singhania at the $15bn Reliance Capital Asset Management Ltd.
 
Dominating the G20 summit, however, will likely be arguments between Russia and the US over Syria's apparent chemical weapons attack on unarmed civilians two weeks ago.
 
Backing the Kremlin's stance, "Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy," said China's vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao at a press briefing today, "especially on the oil price – it will cause a hike."
 
Crude oil ticked half-a-per cent higher on Thursday morning, taking Brent back above $115 per barrel.
 
"The United States – the main currency issuing country – must consider the spill-over effect of its monetary policy," Zhu also said, "especially the opportunity and rhythm of its exit from the ultra-loose monetary policy."

Adrian Ash is director of research at BullionVault, the world-leading physical gold, silver and platinum market for private investors online. Formerly head of editorial at London's top publisher of private-investment advice, he was City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning from 2003 to 2008, and he has now been researching and writing daily analysis of precious metals and the wider financial markets for over 20 years. A frequent guest on BBC radio and television, Adrian is regularly quoted by the Financial Times, MarketWatch and many other respected news outlets, and his views from inside the bullion market have been sought by the Economist magazine, CNBC, Bloomberg, Germany's Handelsblatt and FAZ, plus Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore.

See the full archive of Adrian Ash articles on GoldNews.

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