Chinese gold imports rise 48%

Continuing chaos on world equity markets and fears about the Chinese economy did not result in safe-haven buying of gold on Tuesday.

The metal fell back from six week highs hit last week to close $15.30 or 1.3% lower than yesterday at $1,138.30 an ounce on the Comex market.

While bargain hunters have stayed away from the Shenzen and Shanghai markets, gold traders in China – the world's second largest importer after India – made the most of the availability of cheap metal last month.

Net gold imports from Hong Kong rose nearly by half to 55 tonnes last month from 37 tonnes in June, according to Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department. Gold fell to a five-and-a-half year low below $1,100 during July.

Hong Kong traditionally accounted for the bulk of imports into the country, but Shanghai and Beijing are becoming important centres for the gold trade.

But the buying spree may end if Chinese stocks to continue to weaken and the economy slumps further:

"I think if we do get GDP starting to print well below 7 percent for the next few quarters then (it will affect) retail spending and wages (which will) further erode purchasing power for precious metals," Victor Thianpiriya, commodity strategist at ANZ Bank in Singapore, told the Economic Times.