The price of gold reached a record of over $1,920 per ounce in September and then pulled back sharply to $1,534 per ounce later in the month. On this drop many traders jumped at the opportunity to buy gold cheap. Many traders and banks came out big in China. A report from Hong Kong showed that in one month (September) China bought almost as much as it did in the first half of 2010.
That is a dramatic increase, especially since China bought 45 metric tons of gold in 2009 and increased that to 209 metric tons in the first 10 months of 2010. China is clearly stocking up on physical gold in lieu of US dollars.
Looks like analysts are expecting the buying spree to continue through the end of the year as the Chinese New-Year is a key buying period for gold in China. Analysts are also calling for higher prices on gold by the end of the year.
Since property sales have been limited and other investment options like stocks have been performing poorly, the Chinese have been looking to gold to fulfill the hole. Much of the high demand from China comes on buying as an inflation hedge. China has been battling inflation as the US has been printing money and exporting it to the rest of the world to pay its bills.
Growth in jewelry demand has also increased in China. It is up 13% year over year. Giving gold as gifts in China is popular and analysts are saying that the buying season is coming in with strong statistics.
Helping the gold growth in China has been the government’s loosening of restrictions on gold recently. They have increased the number of banks allowed to import gold and recently opened up an exchange where gold could be bought in renminbi.
Some analysts estimate that China has imported over 350 metric tons this year, and they do not export any gold. They hold onto every ounce their country produces. This trend has been steadily increasing as the government is encouraging its citizens to buy gold. So for those of you who question where gold will go from here, I think Chinese demand is one indication as to the direction of gold prices. The end of the year has been good for gold in 9 out of the last ten years.