People’s Bank of China Gold Reserves Flat Again in June

Peoples Bank of China Adds No Gold to Reserves Again in June.

PBOC U.S. Treasury holdings on the rise.

Total reported People’s Bank of China gold reserves stand at 1842.6 tonnes – same as October 2016.

PBOC foreign reserves rose for the fifth month in a row, up $3.22 billion in June, to $3.057 trillion.

PBOC Foreign Reserves fell approximately $320 billion in 2016 and $513 billion in 2015.

The PBOC added 104 tons of gold to reserves in 2015 and 60 tons in 2016.

Gold Demand in China Very Strong, Imports, Shanghai Gold Exchange at Robust Levels.

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People’s Bank of China Gold Reserves Steady Since October 2016

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Chinese Gold Reserves

For the 25th month in a row, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) gold reserves were updated. The latest update showed that the PBOC’s gold reserves remained unchanged in June.

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 170 tonnes of gold to her reserves.

People’s Bank of China Gold Reserves 2009-2017

People's Bank of China gold reserves 2009 - 2017

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*many suspect that “China” has under reported its gold reserves. See “The Case of China’s Missing Gold and “China’s President Confirms Practice Of Moving Official Reserve Assets To Other Entities In China.

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PBOC’s Gold vs. China’s Gold

The PBOC is not “China” but rather the central bank of China. While the PBOC may not have added much gold to its reserves in 2016, gold was still mined in China and imports of gold continued to flow into China via Hong Kong and Shanghai. This gold goes to individuals, state owned investment companies and banks and to satisfy demand on the Shanghai Gold Exchange. Gold demand in China as measured by withdrawals on the Shanghai Gold Exchange in 2016 was down 24% from 2015.

China only reports on gold held by its central bank, not gold held elsewhere in the country.

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Chinese Foreign Reserves

Chinese foreign reserves fell $68 billion in November from $3.12 trillion in October to $3.052 trillion, the lowest level since 2011. Chinese foreign reserves fell another $42 billion in December 2016 to $3.01 trillion.

In January 2017, Chinese foreign reserves fell under $3 trillion for the first time in six years.

In February 2017, Chinese foreign reserves inched back above $3 trillion.

In March 2017, Chinese foreign reserves rose another $4 billion to $3.09 trillion.

In April 2017, Chinese foreign reserves rose another $20.45 billion in April to $3.29 trillion.

In May 2017, Chinese foreign reserves rose another $24 billion to $3.054 trillion.

In June 2017, Chinese foreign reserves rose another $3 billion to $3.057 trillion.

chinese forex June 2017

Just as the gold held on the PBOC’s balance sheet does not represent all of “China’s gold”, the foreign reserve assets on the PBOC balance sheet do not represent all of China’s assets.

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 $1.087 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds as of the end of April 2017.

China is no longer the world’s largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury Securities.

Chinese Us Treasury Holdings 2014 - 2017

Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasury Securities are on the rise.

I noted in the summer of 2015 and again in early 2016 (when most commentators were insisting the Fed could NEVER raise rates, or indeed would be lowering them) that the Fed WOULD raise of interest rates and continue to do so slowly to make US bonds cheaper and more attractive to foreign central banks. Early this year, I noted that Trump overtures (N. Korea/not labeling them a currency manipulator) might also result in renewed buying by the PBOC of US Treasuries.

China Ready to Buy More Treasuries as Yuan Stabilizes

Russia is also boosting their U.S. Treasury holdings.

Chinese Gold Imports Through Hong Kong*

monthly chinese gold imports through Hong Kong may 2017

Chinese gold imports were 111.647 tons in March, 74.202 in April 2017, 45.031 in May 2017 and were 770.8 tons in 2016.

China’s Gold Imports Seen Jumping 50% as Haven Demand Booms

* does not include Shanghai gold imports.

Chinese Gold Mining Production

Chinese Gold Mining Production 2000 - 2016

Chinese gold mining production is the largest in the world. According to U.S. Geological Survey, China mined 5,210 tons of gold from 2000 – 2016

Shanghai Gold Exchange Withdrawals - 2008 - 2016

NOTE: China has gold coming out of their ears and they are going to make a “sovereign sized buy”?

Chinese Retail Gold Demand is Strong

Chinese buyers snap up gold bars amid fears of war, falling yuan and property slump

Chinese demand for gold bars and coins soars in first quarter

Lower gold prices bolster gold demand; premiums rise in India, China

Top Ten Gold Holding Nations

gold reserves by country - top ten July 2017

The People’s Bank of China has the fifth largest gold reserves of any country.

To see the top forty gold holding nations, click here.

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NB: PBOC gold reserves calculated from PBOC data that lists gold reserves by dollar amount at end of each month. Dollar amount is divided by the LBMA gold price, provided by Kitco, at the end of each month to get a troy ounce total which is then converted into metric tons.

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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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