Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Physical Gold Demand and Supply: A Summary of Recent Reports

China and India are currently taking about 60% of supply including GLD outflows.  This does not leave much supply for jewelry, coin & bar, technology, and central bank demand.  How can gold prices be down in this situation?  Central banks could be selling, but I doubt it.  Perhaps the information below is erroneous or misleading.  But, the data is consistent with much antedotal information.  The most likely explanation is that the paper gold market is disconnected from that for physical gold.  And, I am confident that my ounces are a good store of wealth despite volatility in the paper gold price.

Bloomberg reports that India is importing about 100 tonnes per month.
Imports by China from Hong Kong more than doubled to an all-time high in March, Hong Kong government data showed yesterday. India’s purchases are set to top 100 metric tons in May for the second straight month, according to MMTC-PAMP India Pvt., a bullion refiner.

Reuters reports that China is importing over 200 tonnes per month. 
Net gold flows from Hong Kong to China, the world's No. 2 gold consumer after India, jumped to 223.519 tonnes in March from 97.106 tonnes in February, smashing a previous record of 114.372 tonnes in December, data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department showed on Tuesday (
That makes up more than half of record gold exports to China from Hong Kong in 2012, which stood at 557.478 tonnes.

The SPDR Gold Shares EFT GLD's gold holdings declined 138.5 tonnes in April and 27.0 tonnes in the first 6 trading days of May.  GLD has 1,051 tonnes in the trust as of May 8th.  This is the lowest amount in the trust since March 2009 when gold was $928 per ounce.

Outflows from bullion-backed exchange-traded products, which
have hit record levels in recent months, continued but appear to
have slowed. The world's largest gold-backed ETF, SPDR Gold
Trust, reported an outflow of 3.6 tonnes on Friday.

Total world supply is about 4,500 tonnes annually, with the majority from mining and about 1,600 tonnes from recycling.  That is about 375 tonnes per month of supply.

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