Focus on Asia – Sharps Pixley eyes up developments in the Chinese gold market

Besides data suggesting continued strong demand from Chinese buyers, local and foreign investors will soon be able to buy gold through locally listed ETFs, reports precious metals trader Sharps Pixley.

Last week, China reported better-than-expected exports growth, industrial production data and fixed asset investment growth while the reported inflation data was lower than expected, fuelling hopes of recovery without higher inflation. As the new Chinese leaders will be confirmed on 14 November, the market will focus on how well the new administration can carry out the structural reforms to rebalance and further liberalize the economy.

In Hong Kong where the annual London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) conference took place on 12 to 13 November, many eyes were on Chinese gold demand and trading. According to the World Gold Council, China’s gold demand has risen 27% per year since 2007 and China’s world share has doubled from 10% to 21% from 2007 to 2011.

Nevertheless, its gold reserves as a percentage of total reserves were only 2% as of 2009 compared to over 70% in the developed countries. To further enhance trading, the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges will soon launch gold ETFs while the Shanghai Gold Exchange will have an interbank market in early December which will also be open to foreign banks.

According to the LBMA survey, gold price will rise to $1,849 by next September. Market participants generally expect gold to trade within a range of $1,800 to $2,000 in 2013. The rise in gold price is supported by harder and harder gold discoveries according to Barrick Gold’s CEO. Barclays predicts gold production to rise by less than 1% in 2013.

In Europe, finance ministers have agreed to postpone by two years to 2022 for Greece to reach its target debt to GDP ratio of 120% although the IMF disagreed with the delay. Greece needs to borrow an extra €32.6bn which will further threaten its debt sustainability.

The uncertainty towards Greece, the US fiscal cliff and Wednesday’s FOMC minutes release would certainly be catalysts for gold prices.


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