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China's gold prices surge, hitting a record against the world
By Sybilla Gross
via Yahoo News, Sunnyvale, California
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
China is suddenly full of gold bugs.
It's a flight to safety familiar to students of economic stress.
"With the yuan falling, the property market slumping and capital controls keeping money from leaving the country, investors are buying gold," Bloomberg economists David Qu and Chang Shu wrote in a report.
It also marks a sharp reversal from earlier in the year, when China's slowdown curbed interest in the metal as consumers responded to uncertain economic conditions by conserving cash.
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The so-called Shanghai premium started rising in June, a response in part to import curbs imposed by the People's Bank of China, which may have been trying to shore up the value of the yuan by shrinking the need for dollars to buy gold. But now the currency's plunge is having the opposite effect, as investors chase dollar-denominated assets to preserve value.
Although import restrictions have been loosened, bullion should remain supported by firm demand, Standard Chartered analyst Suki Cooper said in a note last week.
Factor in China's protracted property crisis, loose monetary policy, and tumbling bond yields, and it's no mystery why demand for a haven like gold would soar.
Withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange in August jumped 40% from the previous month, while imports climbed 15%. Meanwhile, inflows into Chinese exchange-traded funds rose to their highest since July 2022. Gold is also finding support from China's central bank, which has boosted purchases for 10 straight months as it diversifies its reserves.
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