GoldCore Update: Enter the Dragon – Chinese Citizens Significantly Increasing Gold and Silver Ownership

Gold
Gold closed Friday night trading at $1,058.70/oz. In euro and GBP terms gold is trading at €704.55/oz and £642/oz. Gold looks set for its fourth week of gains (if it can remain above $1,053/oz) and this would be bullish technically.

While fears about the Chinese economy may have led to some profit taking in gold yesterday, the news that China is now a net importer of gold and looks set to be a net importer for the foreseeable future is very favourable to gold’s medium and long term fundamentals. China imported 112 metric tonnes of gold in 2008 and the rise in net imports was driven by a significant  176% growth in investment demand for the yellow metal, which hit 68 tons, and 21% growth in jewelry demand to 326 tonnes. With gold ownership banned in mainland China for most of the 20th Century, China is now playing catch up and in time  may become as important a driver of demand as India is. Per capita consumption of gold in China is a fraction of that of India but this is set to change in the coming years, especially as the Chinese government is encouraging its citizens to save in gold and silver bullion on state television in order to foster a culture of saving and contain domestic inflation. Chinese savers now have access to gold-linked checking accounts.

Allied to this is the elephant in the room ignored by many analysts – the People’s Bank of China’s massive increase in gold reserves in recent years and their continuing diversification of their over $2 trillion ($2,000,000,0000,000) worth of US debt. Even after nearly doubling their gold reserves to become the world’s fifth-biggest holder of the precious metal – from 600 tonnes in 2003 to over 1,054 tonnes today, China still has less than 2% of its currency reserves in gold in marked contrast to most other large industrial nations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_reserves). 

Another material fact ignored by the bears is the not inconsequential matter of central banks internationally set to become net buyers of gold in 2009 for the first time since 1987. Support for gold is currently seen at $1,050/oz and resistance at $1,073/oz. While gold may be overbought in the short term and may retreat and fill the gap at previous resistance at $1,030/oz, the medium and long term fundamentals remain as sound as ever.

Silver
Silver is trading at $17.66/oz. In euro and GBP terms silver is trading at €11.76/oz and £10.72/oz. The gold to silver ratio ($1060/$17.70=59.9) is at 60 and remains very favourable to silver. Smart money continues to diversify into silver with some going overweight due to the favourable gold to silver ratio. In 1980 this ratio reached 15:1 and with a huge amount of silver used up in industrial applications in the last 200 years, it will fall in the long term and may even revert back to 15:1, reflecting the geological gold to silver ratio in the earth’s crust.

Silver’s fundamentals were further enhanced with more news that Indian buyers are switching from gold to much cheaper silver. This is an important development in the silver market (as is increasing Chinese and wider Asia demand) and will likely further aid silver reaching its recent record highs above $21/oz in the coming weeks.

Platinum Group Metals
Platinum is trading at $1,365/oz while rhodium and palladium are trading at $1,750/oz and $323/oz respectively. 

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Stephen Flood

Stephen Flood is the CEO of GoldCore. He is a former Wall Street equity trader and FinTech expert. He has been involved in the precious metals markets since 2004 and has appeared as an expert contributor on CNBC, CNN, BBC, RTE & Bloomberg TV and has had articles published in the Irish Times, Irish Independent and The Sunday Business Post.

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