The last time we looked at monthly Chinese imports of gold from Hong Kong in 2012, the comparable country in question was Portugal (whose citizens, if not central bank, incidentally have run out of gold to sell), because that is whose total gold holdings (at 382.5 tons) Chinese imports had just surpassed. Fast forward a month later, and the update is even more disturbing. In July, Chinese gold imports from HK, after two months of declines, have picked up once more and hit a 3-month high of 75.8 tons. While it is notable that this number is double the 38.1 tons imported a year prior, and that year-to-date imports are now a record 458.6 tons, well over four times greater than the seven month total in 2011 which was 103.9 tons, what is far more important is that in the first seven months of 2012 alone China has imported nearly as much gold as the total holdings of the hedge fund at the heart of the Eurozone, elsewhere known simply as the European Central Bank, and just as importantly considering the import run-rate has hardly slowed down in August, which data we will have in a few weeks, it is now safe to say that in 2012 alone China has imported more gold than the ECB's entire official 502.1 tons of holdings.
What is most amusing is that China, via the IMF, still wants the world to believe that total Chinese official holdings are just 1040 tons (double the ECB's), when it has imported half this amount in 2012 alone.
As a reminder, the last time China gave an update of its official gold holdings was in April for 2009. This means China has been aggressively hoarding gold for the past three and a half years without issuing an official peep about where its inventory stands now.
Luckily, those who keep track of the newsflow have some idea.
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