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Swiss Gold Bullion Data Revamped, "Transparency" Welcomed

Gold bullion data to go monthly, show flows to China...
GOLD BULLION imports and exports through Switzerland, heart of the world's refining industry, will become "more transparent" from January 2014 as the government's data agency seeks to comply with international guidelines on reporting.
Home to the world's largest gold bullion refiners, Switzerland saw up to four-fifths of the world's total gold trade pass through in the first half of 2013, according to the Swiss News Agency.
The United States' Dodd-Frank Act makes it compulsory for US-listed businesses to evidence their supply chain for gold and other minerals, to prove none have come from warlords in northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.
Last year international trade-association the London Bullion Market Association, working with the OECD and World Gold Council, updated its Good Delivery standards to meet such requirements on "conflict-free" supply chains.
Calling this new move " a bilateral agreement in statistics between Switzerland and the European Union," the head of the Federal Customs Office's foreign trade statistics & economic issues division, Jean-Claude Wagnon, says it will see the Swiss government meet international principles on such data.
In contrast to the quarterly news of total flows available since 1981, from New Year's Day 2014 gold bullion movements into and out of Switzerland will be reported monthly, with a country-by-country breakdown.
Swiss customs data for 2012 showed imports of 2,265 tonnes against exports of 1,570 tonnes.
The Economist recently noted that since the Second World War, net imports of gold bullion to Switzerland – the amount left inside the country between imports and exports – have totaled 13,000 tonnes since WWII.
"[This is] a small step in the direction of transparency," says the Swiss Society for Threatened Peoples, welcoming the news.
Swiss prosecutors recently announced an investigation into claims of gold bullion laundering from DRC sources by major producer Argor-Heraeus, charges which the refiner denies.
This latest news "is significant," says Macquarie Bank analyst Matt Turner, "in the level of detail it will provide about where gold is going to from Switzerland and where it’s coming from."
"Of particular interest," says the Wall Street Journal, quoting Turner – whose analysis of available data earlier this year showed gold bullion sold by Western ETF investment trusts going through Swiss refineries to become kilobars for the Chinese market – "is how much gold is heading to China, now the world's top gold consumer."

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