Anyone who may have been concerned by the slowdown in Chinese gold imports in August, when the country imported "only" 53.5 tons of gold from Hong Kong (down from 75.8 in July), can breathe a sigh of relief. According to the Hong Kong Census Bureau, in September Chinese gross imports soared by 30% reverting to the long-term trendline of 65 tons in gross imports per month, and rising to a total of 69.7 tons. Net imports were 40% less, although that excludes organic Chinese gold mining and recirculation, which is why for all intents and purposes the gross number is the apples to apples one. And using that, Year-To-Date China has now imported a whopping 582 tons of gold, more than the official holdings of India at 558 tons, and which through November has certainly surpassed the holdings of the Netherlands, and make China's gross imports in just 2012 nominally the equivalent of Top 10 largest sovereign holder of gold.
This way at least we know where China is recycling all that vast trade surplus, which incidentally in October just printed, goalseeked or not, at the highest level - $32 billion - since January of 2009. Too bad China no longer recycles all those excess reserves into US Treasury paper (as we showed previously here).
YTD China gross imports from Hong Kong:
Where does this put China:
And in historical perspective: the recent surge in demand for gold is quite unmistakeable: