China Gold Imports Increase Five- or Six-fold

Source: China Gold Imports Increase Five- or Six-fold

There’s been lots of news about China, India, and gold in recent days as imports, investment demand, and prices are all soaring now that the locals see consumer prices rising and look for ways to protect themselves from further depreciation of the currency. Depending on whether you read this Bloomberg report or this Reuters story, Chinese gold imports have increased five- or six-fold during the first ten months of the year. First, from Bloomberg:

Gold Imports by China Soar Almost Fivefold

China’s gold imports jumped almost fivefold in the first 10 months from the entire amount shipped in last year as concern about rising inflation increased its appeal as a store of value, said the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

Imports gained to 209 metric tons compared to 45 tons for all of 2009, Shen Xiangrong, chairman of the bourse, told a conference in Shanghai. China, the world’s largest producer and second-biggest user, doesn’t regularly publish gold-trade figures and rarely comments on its reserves.

And from Reuters:

China gold imports soar six-fold on investment demand

Investors’ rapidly-growing appetite for gold has pushed up China’s gold imports six-fold in the first 10 months of the year, a Shanghai Gold Exchange official said on Thursday, highlighting the appeal of the precious metal as a hedging tool.

In a rare revelation of China’s gold trade data, which is not published by customs, exchange chairman Shen Xiangrong said the country imported 209.72 tonnes of gold in the first ten months of the year.

It looks as though both reports might be correct since they are comparing the first ten months in 2010 to two different time periods in 2009 – the full year in the first and, presumably, just the first ten months in the second. However you calculate the increase, that’s a lot of gold to be importing for the world’s number one gold producer.