China allows gold imports via Beijing, sources say, amid reserves buying talk

RELATED QUOTES

SymbolPriceChange
601288.SS3.15+0.03
601398.SS4.44+0.03
ANZ.AX27.45-0.15
HSBA.L571.80+2.60

By A. Ananthalakshmi

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China has begun allowing gold imports through its capital Beijing, sources familiar with the matter said, in a move that would help keep purchases by the world's top bullion buyer discreet at a time when it might be boosting official reserves.

The opening of a third import point after Shenzhen and Shanghai could also threaten Hong Kong's pole position in China's gold trade, as the mainland can get more of the metal it wants directly rather than through a route that discloses how much it is buying.

China does not release any trade data on gold. The only way bullion markets can get a sense of Chinese purchases is from the monthly release of export data by Hong Kong, which last year supplied $53 billion (31 billion pounds) worth of gold to the mainland.

"We have already started shipping material in directly to Beijing," said an industry source, who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media. The quantities brought in so far are small, as imports via Beijing have only been allowed since the first quarter of this year, sources said.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) is believed to be adding to its gold reserves, according to the World Gold Council (WGC), as it looks to diversify from U.S. Treasuries. The central bank rarely reveals the numbers.

Gold's 28 percent plunge last year and China's record bullion imports in 2013 sparked speculation that the PBOC has added significant amounts of gold to its reserves, and could likely make an announcement this year.

Central banks tend to be very secretive about their gold purchases and sales because prices are extremely sensitive to their trades. Rumours last year of Cyprus selling its gold reserves to prop up finances sent the metal down more than 10 percent over two days - its biggest such decline in 30 years.

Gold has traditionally been imported from Hong Kong into Shenzhen, where nearly 70 percent of the Chinese gold jewellery business is located. Shanghai was opened up as a second port last year.

Only banks are allowed to import gold into China. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd , Agricultural Bank of China Ltd , ANZ (ASX:ANZ) and HSBC (LSE:HSBA) are among the 12 banks that can import gold.

'TOO TRANSPARENT'

China imported nearly 1,160 tonnes of gold from Hong Kong last year, more than twice that of 2012 as the drop in prices caused a spurt in demand.

An analysis of trade figures from data provider Global Trade Information Services showed that China imported at least another 194 tonnes last year from centres other than Hong Kong, likely into Shanghai, showing that direct imports have ramped up.

One of the reasons why China could be encouraging more direct imports was because it wanted to avoid taking the Hong Kong-to-Shenzhen route that makes its gold purchases public, while China wants to keep the trade a secret, sources said.

"There is a view that why should people know how much China is buying," said one of the sources at a bullion banking operation in China. "With the Hong Kong route, there is a lot of transparency and people can easily monitor what is going in and out."

Another source said the move to open up Beijing "is partly driven by the fact that Hong Kong is perhaps a little too transparent", but it is also to accommodate upcoming free-trade zones and non-jewellery demand.

The Shanghai Gold Exchange, the platform for all physical trades in China and in whose vaults importing banks store gold across the country, was not immediately available to comment.

CAUTION ON RESERVES ANNOUNCEMENT

Besides the 1,160 tonnes of gold imported from Hong Kong last year, China had about 428 tonnes of local production. The WGC has said Chinese demand in 2013 was 1,066 tonnes, leaving industry guessing about the "surplus" of around 522 tonnes, not including the amount of direct imports.

The central bank last disclosed its gold reserves in 2009, when it announced that its bullion holdings had risen to 1,054 tonnes from 600 tonnes in 2003.

Philip Klapwijk, managing director of Hong Kong-based consultancy Precious Metals Insights, has said China's official-sector purchases could have totalled 300 tonnes in the first half of 2013, and the pace likely continued in the latter half.

"The major increase in gold supply to the Chinese market in 2012 and especially 2013 could be partly related to large-scale official purchases," according to a Klapwijk-led survey for the WGC that was released last week.

The report said while a part of the surplus was being used for commodity financing deals, some of it could be for the PBOC as well.

Rumours on PBOC's gold reserves range from 3,000 tonnes to 5,000 tonnes. The United States is the biggest holder of gold reserves with over 8,000 tonnes.

Even a 1,000 tonne increase from last announced levels could prompt a jump in gold prices, which would make the PBOC very cautious about the timing of any announcement, said two China gold market analysts, who didn't want to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

--

Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.
Loading...
  • Wall Street opens slightly lower as oil falls Reuters - 4 minutes 57 seconds ago

    REUTERS - U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Tuesday as weak oil prices weighed on energy stocks amid fading hopes of a deal to limit oversupply. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 16.4 points, ... … More »

  • US stocks fall on lower oil, weak trade forecast AFP - 7 minutes ago

    US stocks opened slightly lower Tuesday with petroleum-linked shares retreating on news suggesting a deal of major producers to limit oil output was less likely. Dow member Chevron lost 0.7 percent and ... … More »

  • Britain's Johnson: Rude poem was not brought up in Turkey
    Britain's Johnson: Rude poem was not brought up in Turkey Associated Press - 9 minutes ago

    Visiting Turkey, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Tuesday that his hosts had not brought up the controversy caused by a rude poem he composed mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ... … More »

  • Saudis, Iran dash hopes for OPEC oil deal in Algeria
    Saudis, Iran dash hopes for OPEC oil deal in Algeria Reuters - 18 minutes ago

    Saudi Arabia and Iran on Tuesday dashed hopes that OPEC oil producers could clinch an output-limiting deal in Algeria this week as sources said the group and non-member Russia were still trying to bridge differences between the kingdom and Tehran. … More »

  • RUBBER-Tokyo futures prices after evening session September 27 Reuters - 23 minutes ago

    Following are prices for Tokyo rubber futures at the end of the Tokyo market's evening session on Sep 2016. Contract Day Volume Evening Volume * Oct 170.0 21 169.2 8 * Nov 164.0 30 163.8 7 * Dec 163.5 ... … More »

  • Wolseley to cut up to 800 jobs in tough British market Reuters - 37 minutes ago

    Wolseley, which makes about 80 percent of its profit in the United States, said the 80 branch closures would take two or three years, resulting in restructuring charges of about 100 million pounds. Half its shareholders are UK investors. … More »

  • US home prices rose modestly in July Associated Press - 48 minutes ago

    U.S. home prices rose modestly in July, pulled up by strong gains in Portland, Seattle and Denver, a private index says. The Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.1 percent ... … More »

  • Global markets - Europe's bank angst sours U.S. debate rally
    Global markets - Europe's bank angst sours U.S. debate rally Reuters - 54 minutes ago

    Worries about Europe's banks wrenched stocks into reverse on Tuesday and halted a surge in Mexico's peso that followed Democrat Hillary Clinton's victory over Republican Donald Trump in the first U.S. presidential debate. Europe's mood soured as … More »

  • Europe's bank angst sours U.S. debate rally
    Europe's bank angst sours U.S. debate rally Reuters - 56 minutes ago

    Worries about Europe's banks wrenched stocks into reverse on Tuesday and halted a surge in Mexico's peso that followed Democrat Hillary Clinton's victory over Republican Donald Trump in the first U.S. presidential debate. Europe's mood soured as … More »

  • Philippines suspends 20 mines for environmental violations Associated Press - 1 hour 2 minutes ago

    Philippine officials on Tuesday recommended the suspension of 20 more mines, mostly nickel producers, for environmental violations, threatening to tighten supply from the world's top nickel ore exporter. ... … More »

  • 'Operational upset' at Shell's Bukom site - spokeswoman Reuters - 1 hour 14 minutes ago

    SINGAPORE/OSLO (Reuters) - An incident at Royal Dutch Shell's (RDSa.L) manufacturing site at Pulau Bukom in Singapore on Tuesday resulted in flaring with dark smoke at one unit but it has since subsided, a spokeswoman said. Shell declined to give … More »

  • European stocks falter amid Deutsche Bank, trade worries
    European stocks falter amid Deutsche Bank, trade worries Associated Press - 1 hour 17 minutes ago

    European stocks faltered Tuesday as investors worried over Deutsche Bank's outlook, a big decline in oil prices and a sharp downgrade in global trade predictions. The reaction in markets to the first U.S. ... … More »

  • Goldman Sachs' top Southeast Asia investment banker to leave-sources Reuters - 1 hour 20 minutes ago

    The head of Goldman Sachs' investment banking division in Southeast Asia, Michael Smith, is set to leave the bank, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. Based in Singapore, Smith is a partner at Goldman and also heads the bank's … More »

  • Britain's first U.S. shale gas delivery arrives in stormy Scotland Reuters - 1 hour 40 minutes ago

    Britain's first shale gas delivery from the United States sailed into a heated European political debate on fracking on Tuesday and immediately ran into its first practical problem - the Scottish weather. The huge "Ineos Insight" tanker had entered … More »

  • Shell: Fire forces closure of key oil pipeline in Nigeria Associated Press - 1 hour 43 minutes ago

    Shell says a fire has forced it to close a key oil pipeline feeding Nigeria's strategic Bonny Export Terminal, which militants attacked last week. The ongoing challenges are losing oil multinationals billions ... … More »

  • NATO says Aleppo attacks 'blatant violation of international law'
    NATO says Aleppo attacks 'blatant violation of international law' AFP News - 1 hour 50 minutes ago

    NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday the "morally totally unacceptable" bombardment of the Syrian city of Aleppo broke international law, and urged Russia to take genuine steps to restore a ceasefire. "The appalling attacks on Aleppo have shaken … More »

  • StanChart refers alleged corruption at Indonesian firm to authorities
    StanChart refers alleged corruption at Indonesian firm to authorities Reuters - 1 hour 52 minutes ago

    Standard Chartered (STAN.L) has referred allegations of impropriety at an Indonesian power company that the bank's private equity arm invested in to the appropriate authorities, the bank said on Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the … More »

  • Turkey dismisses 87 spy agency staff over failed coup
    Turkey dismisses 87 spy agency staff over failed coup AFP News - 1 hour 53 minutes ago

    Turkey has dismissed 87 staff from its spy agency over alleged links to the failed July 15 coup, state media said Tuesday, in the first purge of one of the country's most powerful institutions. National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) has suspended … More »

  • Oil prices slip as hopes for a deal in Algiers fade
    Oil prices slip as hopes for a deal in Algiers fade Reuters - 2 hours 10 minutes ago

    Crude oil futures fell on Tuesday as optimism faded for an output-limiting deal from an oil producer meeting in Algeria that has so far failed to yield any agreement to curb one of the worst supply gluts in history. Saudi Arabia on Tuesday dashed … More »

  • AOL chief Tim Armstrong on the ‘concerning’ Yahoo hack and how he’s convincing workers not to leave post-acquisition
    AOL chief Tim Armstrong on the ‘concerning’ Yahoo hack and how he’s convincing workers not to leave post-acquisition Business Insider - 2 hours 13 minutes ago

    John Lamparski/Getty Images AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong … Continued The post AOL chief Tim Armstrong on the ‘concerning’ Yahoo hack and how he’s convincing workers not to leave post-acquisition appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

  • German companies share success stories of their Malaysian ventures Business Times - 2 hours 15 minutes ago

    BERLIN: German companies have given the thumbs-up to the incentives rolled out by Malaysia, saying they have provided support to their investment story abroad. Jan J.Schmidt-Krayer, who is managing partner of Schmidt + Clemens, said the tax … More »

  • Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook AFP - 2 hours 18 minutes ago

    German data protection authorities on Tuesday said they had blocked Facebook from collecting subscriber data from its subsidiary WhatsApp, citing privacy concerns. Facebook and WhatsApp promised in the ... … More »

  • WTO cuts 2016 world trade growth forecast to 1.7 percent, cites wake-up call
    WTO cuts 2016 world trade growth forecast to 1.7 percent, cites wake-up call Reuters - 2 hours 18 minutes ago

    The World Trade Organization cut its forecast for global trade growth this year by more than a third on Tuesday, reflecting a slowdown in China and falling levels of imports into the United States. The new figure of 1.7 percent, down from the WTO's … More »

  • Schaeuble stirs interest rates debate ahead of Draghi visit
    Schaeuble stirs interest rates debate ahead of Draghi visit Reuters - 2 hours 23 minutes ago

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called on Tuesday for urgent structural reforms to spur growth to end the era of low interest rates, a day before lawmakers will grill ECB President Mario Draghi about his loose monetary policy. In a guest … More »

  • Singapore urged to get tougher on money-laundering
    Singapore urged to get tougher on money-laundering AFP News - 2 hours 24 minutes ago

    Singapore must take more aggressive action against complex cross-border money-laundering including prosecuting individuals and seizing illicit proceeds, a global financial crimes watchdog said Tuesday. The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force … More »

 
Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
 
Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.141+0.003+2.17%
    N21.SI
    3.99+0.03+0.76%
    Z74.SI
    0.155+0.003+1.97%
    AFC.SI
    0.740.000.00%
    BS6.SI
    0.275+0.010+3.77%
    5ME.SI
  • % Gainers
    % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.133+0.020+17.70%
    5PF.SI
    0.19+0.03+15.85%
    AWI.SI
    1.48+0.16+12.12%
    S91.SI
    0.198+0.020+11.24%
    M14.SI
    0.60+0.05+9.09%
    AZA.SI
  • % Losers
    % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.255-0.110-30.14%
    AZT.SI
    0.56-0.18-24.32%
    5VJ.SI
    0.395-0.070-15.05%
    K1Q.SI
    0.162-0.028-14.74%
    BGO.SI
    0.122-0.020-14.08%
    569.SI

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1.3601-0.00010.00%
    USDSGD=X
    1.5257-0.0046-0.30%
    EURSGD=X
    1.7647+0.0019+0.11%
    GBPSGD=X
    73.8260+0.102+0.14%
    SGDJPY=X
    5.6998+0.0005+0.01%
    SGDHKD=X
    3.0319-0.0023-0.08%
    SGDMYR=X
    9,524.7754-54.0469-0.56%
    SGDIDR=X
    4.9027+0.0009+0.02%
    SGDCNY=X
    1.0414+0.0028+0.27%
    AUDSGD=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1,332.60-11.50-0.86%
    GCZ16.CMX
    19.27-0.32-1.64%
    SIZ16.CMX
    92.84-1.62-1.71%
    ^XAU
    2.17-0.03-1.30%
    HGZ16.CMX
    43.85+0.41+0.94%
    CLV16.NYM
  • Bonds
    Bonds
    TreasuryYield (%)Yield Change
    1.10-0.03
    ^FVX
    1.55-0.04
    ^TNX
    2.28-0.05
    ^TYX