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LAWRIE WILLIAMS: July Swiss gold exports: Turkey and India top the list

While Swiss gold imports in July have just about reverted to the norm with over half sourced through London, and most of the rest from various gold producing nations, gold exports that month have seen some striking anomalies.  Turkey was the biggest recipient taking 23.6 tonnes, closely followed by India with 21.4 tonnes, then mainland China with 19 tonnes and Hong Kong with 15.5 tonnes.  Both Singapore and Malaysia were also important importers of Swiss gold that month, as was Germany.

If we include Turkey, the Middle East and Asia between them again accounted for close to 90% of Swiss gold exports thus once gain confirming the hugely dominant overall flow of gold from West to East – see the graphic of Switzerland’s July gold exports from Nick Laird’s www.goldchartsrus.com website below.

 

But perhaps there were no real surprises here, except perhaps that Indian gold imports seem to be holding up perhaps better than anticipated after the restocking ahead of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST), which came into effect at the beginning of July.  It had been anticipated that Indian take-up of gold might drop off a cliff after the assumed restocking, but this doesn’t seem to have happened, although the latest Swiss gold export figure to that nation is indeed well below the kind of levels seen earlier in the year.  It was already known that imports of gold by Turkey were running high.

Once again more Swiss gold was shipped directly to the Chinese mainland than into Hong Kong continuing to demonstrate that the former British Crown Colony can no longer be considered the principal import route for gold into China and its gold exports to the mainland no longer a proxy for total Chinese demand.

German imports of 6.5 tonnes do seem to be a slight anomaly, but the country has been withdrawing some gold from its central bank for coinage minting according to the IMF and maybe it is replacing that, although Germany is also a country whose citizens have a propensity to invest in gold bullion in uncertain times

Switzerland, with its plethora of gold refineries, is one of the principal conduits for remelting and re-refining LBMA good delivery gold bars, doré

bullion from mines and scrap into the small sizes in demand in the eastern markets and pulls hugely above its weight in this respect.  In a normal year it imports and exports between 1,500 and 2,000 tonnes of gold – or an amount equivalent to around 50-60% of the world’s new mined gold supply.

23 Aug 2017

About the author

Lawrence Williams

Lawrence (Lawrie) Williams is a well known London-based writer and commentator on financial and political subjects, but specialising in precious metals news and commentary. He is a qualified and experienced mining engineer having graduated in mining engineering from The Royal School of Mines, a constituent college of Imperial College, London – recently described as the World’s No. 2 University (after MIT).

e: lawrie.williams@sharpspixley.com

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