Gold goes viral in China as imports hit just under 2 tonnes per day

Consumers made the most of the dip in the price of bullion and mainland China’s gold purchases via Hong Kong hit a record 56.9 tonnes in September, a sixfold increase year-on-year and up 30% from August, according to figures released by the Hong Kong government and reported by the FT.

Quarterly data from the Hong Kong census and statistics office showed the Middle Kingdom imported about 140 tonnes of gold via Hong Kong in the three months from July to September ahead of the festival season, more than the roughly 120 tonnes for the whole of 2010.

Bloomberg reports Sun Zhaoxue, chairman of the China Gold Association said Wednesday China’s gold-bar investment demand alone, excluding jewellery sales, will rise to more than 270 tonnes this year, almost double 141.9 tonnes in 2010. These figures include imports that do not pass through semi-autonomous Hong Kong.

Global Times reports Chinese authorities have passed regulations to encourage gold trading over the past year, increasing the number of banks allowed to import gold.

China Daily last week quoted Marcus Grubb, the managing director for investments at the World Gold Council: “China, along with India, has understandably been one of the focal points in the gold market over the last decade as its share of total global demand has climbed from 6 percent in 2000 to 18 percent in 2010.”

BullionVault quotes GFMS, a leading metals researcher, chairman Philip Klapwijk: “GFMS currently forecast that this year Chinese jewelry consumption will climb by 15% in volume terms.”