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China Retail Gold Survey 2013: China’s gold market takes its own path

Activity and prices remain buoyant in China’s gold markets despite the slip in prices in the west.

Commentators calling the decline of the Chinese economy clearly haven’t told the country’s gold market investors. China’s economy is growing at its slowest rate in three years – 7.5% in the second quarter – but Shanghai premiums on gold bullion stood at more than $30 an ounce above the international benchmark set by London pricing, at the time of writing in mid-July.

Why? Partly, this is because household consumption is a very low part of GDP in China, so it’s not so odd for demand to be increasing at a household level while overall GDP growth declines. But it’s also because physical demand for gold in China is robust both at the individual level and through central-bank buying. According to gold market observer Goldseek, gold exports from Hong Kong to China were up 68% year on year by early July.

China has its own gold market, the Shanghai Gold Exchange. And although this market is not yet a driver of the global gold price, it is becoming steadily more important in the world gold market.

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