Analysts expect continued strong investment demand for gold in China this year.
According to Xinhua News, gold as an investment will likely “glitter” in 2019 and gold jewelry sales are expected to get a boost in the Chinese lunar Year of the Pig. It also appears the People’s Bank of China is on a buying spree.
China ranks as the world’s top gold consumer.
Song Xin, chairman of the China Gold Association, told Xinhua News that there has been an uptrend in gold investment as a safe haven to avoid increasing risk in other sectors.
“More and more investors and individuals prefer to hold gold, leading to the dramatic increase in demand for gold bars.”
The Chinese Central Bank officially added 10 tons of gold to its reserves in December. It was the first official increase in China’s gold reserves since 2016. It followed up by adding another 11.8 tons in January, bringing its official gold holdings to 1,864 tons.
Meanwhile, Chinese holdings of US Treasuries dropped for the fifth straight month in December, sinking to the lowest level since May 2017. Over the past year, the Chinese have shed $50 billion in US debt. Japanese economist Yusuke Miura told the Asian Review that China “probably wants to reduce its dependence on dollar-denominated securities in its foreign-currency reserves.”
As far as gold jewelry goes, analysts at Metals Focus said anecdotal evidence points to strong demand in China during the recent week-long Lunar New Year celebration. With the strong New Year’s demand, the British precious metals research firm reiterated its forecast for Chinese jewelry demand to rise by about 3% in 2019. This follows a 3% demand increase in 2018.
World Gold Council managing director Wang Lixin told Xinhua News that physical gold investment demand, demand for gold jewelry and an increase in gold reserves by the Chinese central bank were the three highlights of the Chinese gold market in 2018.
“This re-emphasizes gold’s unique role as a risk hedge within investment portfolios.”