China: What Happened to the Gold Data?

Pivotfarm's picture

Imagine the scenario. The company accounts are going to get checked out; the accounts department doesn’t have them ready. There’s a gap in the figures and they don’t tally. Never mind, they may just get through at a pinch and nobody will notice. The Chinese government must have been thinking the self-same thing when a 500-tonne gap appeared in the gold data of the country. Now the question on everyone’s lips is did the People’s Bank of China actually start hoarding gold while the price of the yellow stuff was weak last year?

Is China increasing its holdings of gold, just in case things go all pear-shaped in the economy? Apparently, the Chinese always said that gold wasn’t a useful asset and they already had $3.8 trillion in currency reserves that were diversified enough not to need that gold. But, in 2013, gold imports and gold production figures were much higher than the level of consumption. The Chinese government might have been strongly denying that they were buying up the gold at low prices, but they certainly seem to have been doing so. Still, who can blame them? They have the money to buy it and in true capitalist fashion, they bought when the price was low. Any Western consumer knows that’s what you do. Why would we expect anything less of the Chinese?

• Chinese demand for gold rocketed by 41% (to 1,176 tonnes) in 2013 according to the data published on Monday 10th February (China Gold Association). 
• In comparison with 2012, China last year imported double the amount that it had imported then (1,158 tonnes through Hong Kong). 
• Domestic production of gold bullion also saw an increase on the 2012-2013 figures by 6% (428 tonnes). 
• Figures are still unpublished for imports of gold through Shanghai. 
• China has now superseded India as the highest consumer in the world.
• It has been calculated that gold consumption in China was over 1,700 tonnes in 2013 and that figure is 500 tonnes more than is being reported.

The other alternative is that the Chinese government is not trying to pull the wool over the eyes regarding hoarding of gold (and they really do only have 1,054 tonnes and that figure has been constant since April 2009) and that it is the jewelry companies in China have taken advantage of the low prices and hoarded the stock themselves. Or, better still, it’s both of them; the PBOC and the jewelers. 
Speculation has been rife in the past few months regarding the holdings of gold by the People’s Bank of China and it has been very much on the cards that they will announce this soon (whether or not that remains a forthcoming announcement is debatable today). At the present time, gold reserves only amount to 1% of official reserves of the PBOC (if we have the right figures!). That is very much under the norm for other countries.

But, maybe the jitters about tapering and certainly what will happen in the emerging markets’ economies means that China has been increasing its stockpile, stashing the stuff away for a later date. Gold demand totaled at the end of 2013 in the world 2,805 tonnes (World Gold Council).

So, how much does everyone have in the vaults, locked away just in case? The biggest hoarders are as follows:

  1. India 557.7 tonnes
  2. Netherlands 612.5 tonnes (54% of its reserves)
  3. Japan 765.2 tonnes (2.6% of its reserves)
  4. Russia 1,015.1 tonnes (8.3% of its reserves)
  5. Switzerland 1,041.1 tonnes (8.3% of its reserves)
  6. China 1,054.1 tonnes (1.2% of its reserves)
  7. France 2,435.4 tonnes (66.1% of its reserves)
  8. Italy 2,451.8 tonnes (67.2% of its reserves)
  9. Germany 3,387.1 tonnes (68.7% of its reserves)
  10. USA 8,133.5 tonnes (71.7% of its reserves).

However, the People’s Bank of China may indeed to stay quiet about the increase in its gold reserves since the price has been on the up over the past few weeks. Coming clean about the hoarding may have the effect of causing a greater increase in the price of gold and they may want to avoid that to continue.

It has increased by 4.12% over the past thirty days and was up at the last close by 1.22%. January 1st saw an increase of 6.78%. Prices have fallen in comparison with last year by 22.87%.


Originally posted: China: What Happened to the Gold Data?

 You might also enjoy:Stiglitz: “Sick”! | Hyperinflation – 10 Worst Cases

 Death of the Dollar | You’re Miserable USA! | Emerging Markets: Lock, Stock and Barrel | End of the Financial World 2014 |  Kristallnacht on Wall Street? Bull! | China’s Credit Crunch | Working for the Few | USA:The Land of the Not-So-Free  


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Jumbie's picture

Well, this latest round of history was initiated with the "acknowledged expert" of the Great Depression. Who better to know how it worked, who it worked for, and how to do it again - better.

Frogs must be boiled slowly.

History at least rhymes.

celticgold's picture

you got that right  vyeung

vyeung's picture

8000+ tons of IOU. High Jamie, where is my frigging GOLD! Opps, rehypothicated and dunno where the yellow stuff ended up. Virtual tonnage. But in the end the banksters have left the American people holding the bag, they walk pockets loaded with treasure and the sheep dunno what hit them. Back to the graze now, but this time slave labour to pay-off the debt the banksters stole and enjoying whilst they think up a new way to shaft another populace.

jvetter713's picture

USA 8,133.5 tonnes (71.7% of its reserves)

That's the best laugh I've had all day.

ghostzapper's picture

Been saying the same thing all along.  All of the data telling you how much exists and who owns it is complete bullshit propaganda from TPTB.  

People get all giggly and moist like teenage girls gabbing about Bieber when big bad China does something but let me ask how the fuck anything China "does" means anything when it's all bullshit?

are we there yet's picture

The stated gold holdings by country are not credible. The US has avoided a gold audit since Eisenhower, Germany is not allowed to see its imagined gold, and China is far higher than 1000 tones by now from all indications shown on ZH and other places. Russia may be higher as well. If this article has unreasonable data then 'pivotfam' may not be a good source of analysis.

If One of the Tylers wants a good gold article, I sugest the mysterious evaporation of most of Lybias gold reserves after Kadafie went feet up.

Son of Loki's picture

No one knows how much the Chinese have stored under their beds just like no one knows how many tons of gold are stuffed into Swiss vaults.

BanksterSlayer's picture

To understand China's activity in "hoarding" gold, one must take into account the global paradigm shift going on in the East with the launching of a gold-backed trade settlement "bank" which will "replace the USDollar in its key role as trade settlement medium and global reserve currency." per Jim Willie, below:




The overriding global message is that Russia & China are leading a movement across the entire East to dump the USTBond, to work toward alternative trade settlement, and to replace the USDollar in its key role as trade settlement medium and global reserve currency. A Global Paradigm Shift is in progress. Downward pressure in the USTreasury 10-year bond yield (TNX) will be seen in the poor economic results and application of the interest rate derivative machinery. Upward pressure in the TNX will be seen from the global USD/USTBond rejection and recognition of the USFed Taper Talk falsehood deception. The USFed is on course to lose all remaining credibility. Their prestige vanished with the introduction of the Quantitative Easing against the ZIRP zero bound rates. Five key important points dominate the global landscape like a gigantic billboard.


Continued at:

Urban Redneck's picture


The Chinese are probably laughing their asses off at the gold bugs placing bets on their game of follow the lady...

But if people insist on playing three card monte, here's some simple advice- STOP TRYING TO CHOOSE FROM AMONG THE CARDS YOU'RE BEING DELIBERATELY SHOWN.

There are more options than just PBOC or SAFE, and if one wants to go back to Chinese declarations and policy changes made in 2008-2009, it might be helpful to start by turning over the STATE RESERVE BUREAU card, you might find about a million tons of aluminum, several bukkake tons of copper, and even 200 tons of atomic number 49 (and this was before the Jim Henson show started pumping (not so) rare earth elements).

More important than the publicly disclosed items on the SRB shopping list is the breadth of effective "front companies" used by SRB to implement acquisition policy and how the execution of SRB policy by those companies feeds the bottomless rabbit hole of shadow banking/warehouse receipt/re-hypothecation/disappearing inventory/expat bureaucrat kleptocracy/ and accounting practices that would make Arthur Andersen proud.

The rabbit hole is so deep they can hide more gold in it than anyone can accuse them of hoarding. However, the 64 trillion dollar question is when they finally go to pull the gold out of their ass- do they retrieve a huge stash of good delivery bars, some of's finest counterfeits, or a single fortune cookie with a message that reads "You now be Corzined BEACHES!" in some bankster princeling's hand writing...

Sufiy's picture

Unprecedented Total Chinese Gold Demand For 2013 Was 2,181 Tons 

Yesterday WSJ, Reuters and Bloomberg have created a lot of buzz in mass media about unprecedented Chinese Gold demand of over 1,000 tons in 2013. Koos Jansen reports that actual demand was almost double that and stands at 2,181 tons of Gold, excluding PBOC purchases! Koos Jansen makes the great work of the forensic investigation of the real Gold market in China and his work is highly recommended for all interested in the gold market.
  Gold is trading higher today at high $1287 in Asia after breaching $1270 level. The Mother Of Short Squeeze has finally arrived in the Gold market and Janet Yellen testimony today will provide the catalyst.

akarc's picture

"But", "maybe," "speculation," "however," "could," "imagine", "is", "might," "why,"...............


O.k. I think I got it now.

lasvegaspersona's picture

I believe Spain had about 1000 tons...did they divest or was my source incorrect?

Four chan's picture

none of this matters because the price of gold has an inverse relationship to demand,

unlike every other asset known to man.

XitSam's picture

"...did the People’s Bank of China actually start hoarding gold..."

Why is it whenever someone has more of something than someone that has none, the word "hoarding" gets used?


StateofFraud's picture

"Why is it whenever someone has more of something than someone that has none, the word "hoarding" gets used?

Because under a socialist collective anything beyond immediate need must be returned to the collective. To do otherwise is to hoard. The useful idiots in the media are only too happy to adopt whatever vocabulary is handed to them by their superiors. People become persons; citizens become residents, etc.

NotApplicable's picture

I bet they "hoard" it in their "compound."

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

There is some hope for the Chinese. 

Here is an international health organization with a therapy to cure hoarding.

SAT 800's picture

It needs to be understood that "hoarding" is a spin word; it just translates as "savings". Certainly savings are not evil or un-justified.

delivered's picture

Gold holdings as a percentage of reserves is just one, and overly simple, measurement to consider. I would focus more on gold holdings as a percentage of total outstanding debt, total CB balance sheet, currency in circulation, and probably most importantly, total soverign debt (issued/outstanding plus off balance sheet future obligations & committments). All of these need to be considered when attempting to truly understand the importance of gold has an alternative payment source should a soverign default on its debt. Would love to see these comparisons for countries over time to evaluate how much has changed just over the past decade.

Wasn't too long ago the US's debt was less than $6 trillion (2001). Now $17 trillion and counting. No increase in gold holdings at all so its no wonder the price of gold has increased. In fact, I doubt the US has that much gold but we'll probably never know as disclosing the truth about just where the gold is would be the straw that crushes the camel's back. Really when you think about it, what is the US's gold worth, around $300+/- billion. Cover's about 50% of one year's annual deficit. Chump change in today's world so you have to ask the question, why would the US even bother with keeping this relic around? Just costs money to store and maintain and is completely immaterial when compared to the overall economy. Faith, is the only thing I can think of - as in they don't have complete faith in the value of the USD fiat and ability for the US to repay its debt. 

Mandel Bot's picture

Discussing the value of gold in terms of Federal Reserve Notes is foolish. When the dollar (or any fiat currency) crashes, the value of one FRN can become infinitesimally small. When that occurs the 'price' of gold in FRN terms will approach infinity. However the gold will not have appreciated in value. It will merely have maintained its purchasing power.

In Roman times an ounce of gold would buy a good toga, a leather belt and a pair of quality sandals. Today an ounce of gold will exchange for enough FRNs to buy a good suit, a leather belt and a pair of quality shoes.

Anyone owning gold in anticipation of becoming rich is fooling themselves. They will maintain their purchasing power, but that is all.

That is a good enough reason to keep stacking!

StateofFraud's picture

You can't put a price on a silver or gold coin getting you to the front of the line.

Hongcha's picture

When the regime change comes down on the USD, it will be on a Sunday night and everyone below decks will be trapped.  The elite will be drifting in lifeboats, using bullhorns telling everyone things are going to be just fine, stay in the boat for your own safety.  We will awaken to the National Guard at filling stations and Safeways.  Within a few days the mobs will hit the streets looking for food.  Choppers in the air tracking (but not stopping) the hordes, protecting the gated communities, the military bases, the police stations and the banks if they even open.

ILLILLILLI's picture

Sounds like the kind of story Jerry D. Young writes...

Sashko89's picture

I wonder how accurate these numbers really are... Us sheeple may never know... Plust I would also like to know who are the biggest private holders of gold? any data available on that?



RumbleGuts's picture

I heard Bottom of Lakes holds quite a bit...

willwork4food's picture

I have GOT to start investing in them...

SAT 800's picture

Not very. I would classify Russian holdings as "unknown". None of the output of their mines shows up as input in England or Switzerland, or anywhere else.  I feel that as chess players they don't feel any particular virtue resides in advertising their moves.

manofthenorth's picture

Same as the Chinese. Great poker players. Old saying; The loudest dum is the emptiest

willwork4food's picture

Well said. Where did the author get these numbers? The IMF?

Boxed Merlot's picture

who are the biggest private holders of gold?...




You're as likely to know that as you are to know where it is.  Never happen. 


The gold is an outward manifestation of wealth, but it's value is intrinsically tied to voluntary adherence to the rule of law.  Outside of that, it's worthless.



Power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing.





StateofFraud's picture

" it's value is intrinsically tied to voluntary adherence to the rule of law. Outside of that, it's worthless."

Not at all, says the pirate. 

Boxed Merlot's picture

Not at all, says the pirate...



Actually, I'd contend especially the pirate.  A pirate needs law in order to be defined, without law, a pirate is no different than anyone else.



Jumbie's picture

With law, pirates just wear different costumes.

Boxed Merlot's picture

With law, pirates just wear different costumes...



Evidently so.  Currently I believe them all to be wearing red and / or blue.



Seriously though, when is the judiciary going to man-up? 

And when will the populace back them?

StateofFraud's picture

"without law, a pirate is no different than anyone else."

The phrase I was commenting on was, "voluntary adherence to the rule of law. Outside of that it's worthless."


Cycling Fish's picture

Gold has intrinsic value for one reason and one reason only: women like gold jewellery. Therefore the valuation of gold to any man is simple. Gold is pussy and it has been thus since the beginning of recorded time as ancient hoards of gold jewellery attest..

Jumbie's picture

Reminds me of the bobblehead from a few weeks back; "gold isn't backed by anything!"


NExt time, type that on a computer without any gold in it.

Errol's picture

Actually, men like gold too; a nice, heavy gold Rollex is still pretty popular.  In a the US hiphop/thug culture, gold bling in the form of heavy chains and bracelets improves males' reproductive oportunities as well.

As the American Empire unravels and we stumble into our feudal future, a nice gold crown and Chain of Office may make a comeback, also.

Everyone around the world is plenty well aware that a lot of posers have iphones, but you can buy a buttload of iphones with a Rollex.

chubbar's picture

I hope Germany isn't including the 2300 tonnes they have stored outside their own vaults in this calculation because that shit is GONE!Especially any that was stored in the U.S. because as the Germans are now finding out, the U.S. isn't giving that stuff back because it doesn't have it. The Bundesbank is on a collision course with the German population that is slowly waking up to the truth of the matter. Shouldn't be long now before the cover is blown off of this manipulation.

El Oregonian's picture

It only gets BITTER from here.

manofthenorth's picture

The greatest game of liars poker in the history of the World.  I can hardly wait to see the river ! Keep stacking.

gmrpeabody's picture

10. USA 8,133.5 tonnes (71.7% of its reserves)

Well, we all know that is bologne..., maybe it all is.

boogerbently's picture

I'd like $3.8TRILLION in phyz for "a rainy day".