The latest figures for gold exports from Switzerland just further emphasise that physical gold is continuing to move eastwards in a big way. The country’s gold refineries sent 74% of their gold exports to Greater China (the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong) and India alone, while if we add in other south and east Asian nations – Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea – and the Middle East – Turkey, the UAE, Lebanon and Jordan – fully 90% of Swiss gold exports that month moved to this region.
Why is this so significant? Switzerland produces no gold of its own, but its gold refineries between them are the world’s largest gold exporters taking gold bullion and scrap from mines and other sources, including good delivery 400 ounce bars, and re-refining these into the smaller sizes in demand in Asia and the Middle East and re-exporting the bullion mostly to these eastern nations.
The latest Swiss figures also support the anecdotal evidence of extremely tight supply, with the Swiss refineries struggling to source enough gold to meet the eastern demand. In June, Switzerland exported in total 162.1 tonnes of gold while only importing 124.9 tonnes – a shortfall of 37.2 tonnes. This is the second month in a row where Swiss gold exports were substantially larger than imports – the figure for May was around 39 tonnes.
This post was published at Sharps Pixley