Why Is The People’s Bank of China Holding Off On Adding Gold?

Peoples Bank of China Adds No Gold to Reserves in August.

The People’s Bank of China has not added any gold to reserves since they were admitted to the SDR in October 2016.

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

PBOC foreign reserves rose for the seventh month in a row, up $11 billion in July to $3.092 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.

U.S. threatens to cut China out of the Dollar system if they do not support North Korean sanctions.

China holds over $1T in USTbonds – that can be used to buy oil.

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

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

For the 27th 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 August. 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.

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People’s Bank of China Gold Reserves 2009-2017

Peoples bank of china gold reserves 2009 -2017 July

The People’s Bank of China’s gold reserves remain unchanged since October 2016.

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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 Case of China’s Missing Gold

In July of 2015, the People’s Bank of China updated publically 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 1,850 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 557.7 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.

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.

In July 2017, Chinese foreign reserves rose another $24 billion to $3.081 trillion.

In August 2017, Chinese foreign reserve rose another $11 billion to $3.092 trillion.

chinese forex June 2017

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 $1.102 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds as of the end of May 2017.

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

Chinese holdings of US Treasuries January 2015 June 2017

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

China Ready to Buy More Treasuries as Yuan Stabilizes

But of course not if they get kicked out of the dollar system.

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

Russian holdings of US Tbonds Jan 2014 - May 2017

Chinese Gold Imports Through Hong Kong*

Hong Kong imports of gold into China july 2017

China imported a net 77.777 tons in July 2017, 452.5 tons through July 2017 and 5,409 tons of gold through Hong Kong since 2001.

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

Through July 2017 gold withdrawals on the Shanghai Gold Exchange have topped 14,500 tons.

Shanghai gold exchange withdrawals 2008 - 2017 annual through July

Chinese Retail Gold Demand is Strong

Chinese Demand for Gold Bars Climbs by Half on Hunt for Havens

Gold Bars sold in the first half of 2017: 158.40 metric tons or 4,919,064 ounces
Gold Jewlery: 330.8 tons or 10,635,467 ounces
Total First Half Chinese Gold Demand: 545.2 tons or 17,528,587 ounces

Top Ten Gold Holding Nations

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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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