Bloomberg reported earlier this week that gold imports by China via Hong Kong jumped to 75.8 tonnes in July.
The figure is an improvement from the 68 tonnes imported in June, but significantly less than the 103.6 kilograms Chinese safe-haven buyers acquired in April this year.
Nevertheless, cumulative year to date China has imported a record 458.6 tonnes, four times as much over the same period last year.
Writing at economics and investment site Zero Hedge, Tyler Durden takes the gold data and compares it to China's purchases of US debt – with holdings of $1.1 trillion China is the US's number one creditor.
Beijing has not supplied official figures of its gold holdings since 2009, but Durden argues that it has now probably surpassed that of Germany (see table) and finds that "for the first time in history China has imported twice as much gold as it has 'imported' US Treasuries".
Durden then makes the case for the yuan to become the world's next reserve currency:
But most importantly, and perhaps tying it all together, is what the deputy director of the Chinese central bank, the PBOC, said overnight at a conference in Xiamen. What he said is that the financial crisis has shaken confidence in the U.S. dollar. We knew that. What he added is that
the sound performance of China’s economy during the crisis boosted demand for yuan. This was also more or less known, although with the Yuan peg it is somewhat difficult to determine objectively. It is what he said last that is most important: "The financial crisis that started in 2008 has provided China with a good opportunity to promote the yuan as a global currency."