China Resumed its Gold Buying in December

China Added Nearly Ten Tons of Gold To Reserves in December

People’s Bank of China Ends 2018 with its first gold purchase since October 2016.

The People’s Bank of China added 320,000 ounces (9.953 tons) of gold to reserves in December 2018.

Total reported People’s Bank of China gold reserves stand at 1852.532 tonnes.

The PBOC added 104 tons of gold to reserves in 2015, 60 tons in 2016 and none in 2017.

Chinese holdings of US Treasuries were $1.138 Trillion as of October 2018.

Value of PBOC Gold at the end of December 2018 was approximately $74 billion.

Gold demand in remains China very strong; imports, retail demand and Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals at robust levels.

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People’s Bank of China Gold Increase for the First Time Since October 2016

For the first time since October 2016, (the month that the Chinese Yuan was admitted to the International Monetary Fund’ss Special Drawing Rights currency basket) The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) updated its gold reserves. The latest update showed that the PBOC’s gold reserves added 320,000 ounces or approximately 10 tons of gold. In June 2015, the PBOC updated its gold reserves for the first time since 2009 by reporting an additional 604 tonnes.* Since then the PBOC has added another 180 tonnes of gold to her reserves.

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People’s Bank of China Gold Reserves 2009-2018

Chinese Gold Reserves 2009 - 2018

The PBOC added gold to reserves for the first time since the Yuan was added to the SDR basket in October 2016.

Top Ten Gold Holding Nations

Gold Reserves By country top ten January 7 2018


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PBOC’s Gold vs. China’s Gold

The Case of China’s Missing Gold

In July of 2015, the People’s Bank of China updated publicly their gold reserves for the first time since 2009. Many gold observers were expecting a massive increase. When the PBOC announced that its gold reserves increased a healthy 604 tons, more than a few cried foul and insisted that “China” was lying and hiding their true gold holdings. At that time we published “The Case of China’s Missing Gold“. In that article we noted that China’s missing gold perhaps wasn’t missing at all – it just wasn’t listed on the PBOC balance sheet.

Indeed, we noted “China’s” gold was probably elsewhere, in sovereign wealth funds, at other Chinese state owned banks, and with its citizens. Later in October, 2015 we reported that “China’s President Confirms Practice Of Moving Official Reserve Assets To Other Entities In China” in which China’s President Xi Jinping admitted “some assets in foreign exchanges were transferred from the central bank to domestic banks, enterprises and individuals”.

Clearly, there is more gold in China than is reported on the PBOC balance sheet. According to the USGS, China has mined over 5,200 tons of gold since 2000, the SGE has experienced withdrawals of over 14,500 tons of gold and imported over 5,300 tons of gold into China via Hong Kong since 2001. Yet, the People’s Bank of China lists under 1,855 tons of gold on its balance sheet.

The case is the same in India, where Indian households are estimated to hold 18-22,000 tons of gold and Indian temples to hold about 4,000 tons of gold , yet the Royal Bank of India lists just 580 tons of gold on its balance sheet.

Simply, the gold on the balance sheets of the PBOC and the Royal Bank of India is not all of “China’s” gold or “India’s” gold, it is just that gold held by those respective central banks.

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Chinese Foreign Reserves

In January 2017, Chinese foreign reserves fell under $3 trillion for the first time in six years but have since risen above the $3t mark and stood at $3.073 trillion at the end of December 2018.

Chinese Holdings of U.S. Treasuries

According to the most recent report by the U.S. Treasury Department on foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities, China held $1.138.9 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds as of the end of October 2018.

China is once again the world’s largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury Securities.

Chinese US Treasury Holdings 2017 - 2018

Chinese Gold Mining Production

Chinese Gold mining production 2000 - 2017

Chinese gold mining production is the largest in the world. According to U.S. Geological Survey, China mined approximately 5,600 tons of gold from 2000 – 2017

Shanghai Gold Exchange

In 2017 gold withdrawals on the Shanghai Gold Exchange were 2010 tons.

Shanghai Gold Exchange Withdrawals through October 2008 - 2018

Through October, Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals were 1698 tons.

Chinese Retail Gold Demand is Strong

According to the World Gold Council
Gold Bars sold in the first half of 2018: 146.8 metric tons
Gold Jewelry: 144.8 tons

Can China’s Gold Save it From its Rising Debt?

Value of Chinese Gold Holdings vs Chinese Debt

Chinese Gold Holdings vs Chinese Debt

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Further Reading:

The Case of China’s Missing Gold

Shanghai Gold Exchange Withdrawals (weekly archive)

Chinese Gold Reserves (monthly archive)

Russian Gold Reserves (monthly archive)

India and Gold

Indian Gold Charts

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