Chinese buying more gold as global demand falls

World Today

The global demand for gold continues to slump. It fell 9 percent last quarter—to the lowest level since 2009. While that’s the global trend, it turns out something different is happening in China. CGTN’s Mike Walter reports.

This year, gold consumption has been on the rise in China.

Through the first three quarters of the year, total demand rose more than 15 percent. Purchases of gold bars were up more than 40 percent. And there were also more purchases of gold jewelry, which still makes up most of the Chinese gold market.

“Sales of gold jewelry grew mainly because in the first six months of this year, innovations brought design breakthroughs,” Li Yang, an analyst of the gold market explained.

“So the sales rose among Chinese born in the 1980s and 1990s. Another reason is that retail prices of gold jewelry were stable compared with the same period in previous years. That also helped increase sales.”

While Chinese ‘consumption’ of gold has increased, ‘production’ has decreased, according to the China Gold Association. It says production fell nearly 10 percent through the first nine months of the year.

That could be, in part, because of new rules – imposed last year – that tighten environmental restrictions on Chinese gold production. The country has seen a wave of gold mine closures in major gold producing provinces like Jiangxi, Hunan and Shandong.

“When international gold prices are relatively high, we would work overtime to produce more gold,” said Wang Wei, a manager of a private gold producer in Penglai. “But our recent output is around two-thirds of our peak output.”

Still, people looking to collect gold coins now have several new options from China.

The 2018 edition of the Chinese Gold Panda coin comes in five different weights. The People’s Bank of China issued one million 2018 gold pandas.

The manufacturer changes the panda design every year to increase demand from collectors.

“The 2018 design is different from all the previous designs,” said Cheng Chao, the designer of the 2018 Chinese panda coin. “I selected the close-up of the facial expression of the giant panda as the main pattern, with the plumpy body and eyes gazing at the bamboo leaves.”

“It’s peaceful, but insightful.”