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November 9, 2016

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Global gold buying dims 10% in Q3

GOLD buying globally fell 10 percent in the third quarter as consumer demand in China and India sagged and central banks halved their purchases, despite a rise in investment sentiment, the World Gold Council said yesterday.

Chinese consumers bought 22 percent less gold in the July-September period due to “cooling economic growth, stock market uncertainty and concerns over a property bubble,” said Roland Wang, managing director of WGC China.

Coupled with a decline of 28 percent in Indian buying, the demand for jewelry globally dimmed by a fifth to 493.1 tons, its lowest third-quarter total in five years.

Central banks around the world bought 81.7 tons of the bullion in the third quarter of the year, down from 168 tons in the same period of last year.

However, purchase sentiment should rise in the fourth quarter as expectations for higher gold prices could spark consumer demand, the WGC said in its latest demand trends report. There is also a trend to hold physical gold products in China.

“We stay optimistic on China’s gold market, as investors are continuously seeking to preserve wealth amid a depreciating yuan,” said Wang. “We estimate demand in China at between 800 tons and 900 tons for the whole year.”

The yuan has weakened 4.2 percent against the greenback so far this year. The devaluation has prompted Chinese investors to turn to Bitcoin virtual currency, whose value on an Chinese exchange has surged 17 percent since the end of September.

Geopolitical concerns such as the US presidential election would boost institutional buyers’ taste for bullion as a hedge, WGC said. In the last round of a buying spree, the market was sparked by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

“The need for hedging is also supported by a series of negative interest rate policies and next years’ elections in Germany and France,” said Alistair Hewitt, WGC’s head of market intelligence.


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