People’s Bank of China Gold Reserves Flat For Four Months

Peoples Bank of China Added 14.07 Tons of Gold to Reserves in February.

The People’s Bank of China Added No Gold to Reserves in November 2016 and sold 20.97 tons of gold in December 2016, added back 6.91 tons in January and 14.07 tons in February.

Total reported People’s Bank of China gold reserves stand at 1842.41 tonnes.

PBOC foreign reserves rose for the first time in eight months $6.92 billion in February, from it lowest total since 2011, to $3.005 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.

China posted first trade deficit in three years in February.

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People’s Bank of China Gold Reserves Steady Despite Steep Decline in Foreign Reserves

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For the 21th 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 grew by approximately[452,361 ounces (approximately 14.07 tons) in February.

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

Peoples bank of china gold reserves june 2015 - february 2017

The People’s Bank of China added 14.07 tons of gold to reserves in February 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.

Chinese foreign reserves feb 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 $1.049 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds as of the end of November 2016.

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

Chinese Holdings of US Treasury Securities 2014 - 2016

Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasury Securities have fallen by over $200 billion in a year.

Chinese Gold Imports Through Hong Kong*

chinese gold imports from Hong Kong november 2016

Chinese gold imports were 50.178 tons in November 2016 and were 719.3 tons through November 2016.

* 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

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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

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