Chinese savers turn to gold as rest of the world exits holdings


From Bloomberg News
Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Even as investors shed gold holdings almost everywhere else in the world, Chinese savers like Hu Jingjing are buying.

Stung by a $5 trillion stock-market collapse, an overbuilt property market, and a devaluation of the yuan, Chinese investors are adding to bullion holdings that have already made them the world's largest consumers of the metal. A third straight annual decline in prices has failed to deter purchases, partly because there are few attractive alternatives for preserving assets.

"It's been a very tough year for investment because shares are so volatile and bank deposits are threatened by a weakening yuan," Hu, a 36-year-old manager at a clothing retailer, said after buying a 30-gram bullion bar for 7,865 yuan ($1,232) at a jewelry store in Beijing on Nov. 4. "I don't think gold is going to drop any more and I can sell it back to them if the price goes up."

China imported the most gold in 19 months from Hong Kong in September, following the surprise devaluation of the yuan in August and a rout in domestic shares that was the biggest since the global financial crisis. Even the central bank has been accumulating the metal, announcing in July that reserves were up 57 percent since 2009 and adding to holdings each month since then. While the stock market has recouped some of its losses, investors continue to withdraw gold from the bullion exchange in a sign they are still worried about the economic outlook. ...

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