Gold imports into mainland China from Hong Kong almost doubled to new high in 2012 as Chinese people continue to play catch up in terms of gold ownership. The Chinese were forbidden from owning gold for over 50 years. Rising incomes, economic jitters and concerns about currency debasement and inflation in the world’s second largest economy led to increased demand in China which contributed to gold seeing another year of gains. The very poor performance of the Chinese stock market in the last 10 years (see chart below) and concerns about property bubbles are also leading Chinese investors and savers to diversify into gold.
Mainland China imported a whopping 834,502 kilograms or 834.5 metric tons of gold, including scrap and coins in 2012. This compared with about 431,215 kilograms or 431.2 metric tons in 2011, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong government. Imports in December 2012 rose to a monthly record of 114,405 kilograms, according to data from the department today.