16 January 2014

China Claims To Already Have the Third Largest Gold Reserves in the World

It should be noted that this report is sourced from 'ScrapMonster.' I have found it on the webpage for the Shanghai Metals Market. The numbers in this article do not agree with the latest reported number for China from the World Gold Council, which by the way is hopelessly out of date. 

More importantly, there is no IMF report that I have been independently been able to find that discloses this information.   If this story below is true, then it is quite the news piece, since details on China's gold holdings are of great interest to many. The number in the story below is credible, which first sparked my interest in it.

Let's see if the Chinese confirm or deny this, or more likely, continue to say nothing and buy.

Here is a recent news item about this controversy from Bloomberg:
"After adjusting for net imports from Hong Kong and domestic output, the figure is closer to 5,086 metric tons [central bank holdings plus private gold holdings]. When taking away gold uses for jewelry, industrial and other categories and adding implied bar demand to central bank holdings, the figure is likely closer to 2,710 mt.

"China would need 10 years for its gold holdings to catch up to the U.S., based on adjusted Chinese consumption for jewelry, industrial and other uses and using implied bar demand as the primary driver of incremental central bank additions. Based on run rates during 2013, China may have added 622 metric tons of bars to its central bank holdings, after adding 380 mt in 2012."

This news item below is purportedly what China is willing to 'officially report,'` that they have expanded their official gold reserves by 76%, to 2,710 tonnes.   If this is accurate then China is now just behind the US and Germany, which say that they hold 8,133.5 and 3,391.3 tonness respectively.  China has already surpassed Italy and France. 

Given the 2,710 tonne figure I have to wonder if the author of the Scrapmonster piece picked it up from Bloomberg and then ran with it.  It would make some sense, although Bloomberg does not mention anything about the IMF.

There is some controversy regarding the disposition of Germany's gold, much of which is held outside that country, as you would know if you frequent this café.  More on that later.

 Privately there is a great deal of speculation that the heavy flows of gold through Shanghai are not merely going to the public market in China, but are also helping to fill their central bank reserve vaults even further than they will admit. 

As you may recall, China is encouraging its people to place some portion of their personal wealth in precious metals.

It is easy to sneer at goldbugs, those who find a refuge from abusive monetary policy in the traditional safe haven of precious metals, but it quite another thing to tell the 800 pound gorillas in the global market, China and Russia among them, that they do not understand anything about risk and money. 

Agree with them or not, they are making their case for what they think will happen in the future of global money, and are putting some of their own sizable wealth down on the table to back it up.  And if the models of a few academic economists do not agree with them, they really do not care.  They have their own economists, and their own interpretations of history, and their own needs and agendas.

And there are other countries who are now desperately seeking to bring their gold home from the custodial storage in New York, which is an artifact of World War II and the Cold War.  And some of them, like Germany are finding that it is not so easy to persuade the New York Fed to return it.  We can only wonder why.

These are central banks, who seem to be managing their national affairs with quite an informed and determined outlook towards the future. To completely ignore the implications of this, which to me seem quite clear, is nothing short of willful blindness.  If we just shut our eyes and say no, then the change will not affect us.  Except that the smart money is already on the move behind the scenes.

There is an ongoing debate happening now among the nations' bankers about the suitable replacement for the de facto Bretton Woods II arrangement which bases global trade settlements on the fiat dollar, no longer tied to gold since Nixon made a unilateral decision to shut the gold window.   They have made public statements about what they would prefer to see adopted, and Russia made this discussion a formal topic during its G20 chairmanship last year.

It has been a long time coming. But change is going to come. It always does.  And it may wash over those who stubbornly refuse to even admit that it is happening.

Shanghai Metals Market
China Expands Gold Reserves, Surged Past Italy & France in Ranking
By Paul Ploumis
Jan 15, 2014 08:36 GMT

BEIJING (Scrap Monster) : Claiming to have vaulted France and Italy in terms of gold reserves, China has announced that they have expanded their gold reserves by 76 %, thus becoming 3rd largest gold reserves in the world. According to the voluntary reporting system of IMF which monitors international gold reserves, China’s gold reserve have increased from the last reported holdings of 1,054 Tons in 2009, April to 2,710 metric tons currently.

China claims to have surged past Italy which has current holdings of 2,451.8 tons of gold reserves followed by France having 2,435.4 tons. The accurate reports released by the World Gold Council Data has placed US at the first position of world ranking for holding largest gold reserves which is 8,133.5 tons. The percentage of foreign reserve in gold in US is 75.1 %. Germany holds the second position with 3,391.3 tons of gold reserves.

In order to acquire the position, the Central Bank of China had added 622 tons of gold last year which was a massive boosting from the 380 tons of 2012 estimate. China had surged several nations to become the largest producer of gold. It has boosted its gold reserve without purchasing gold from global bullion market. While most of the major gold producing nations are reporting the decline of production, China remains to increase the production.