BEIJING/LONDON/BENGALURU: China has given domestic and international banks permission to import large amounts of gold into the country, five sources familiar with the matter said, potentially helping to support gold prices after a months-long decline.
China is the world’s biggest gold consumer, gobbling up hundreds of tonnes worth tens of billions of dollars each year, but its imports plunged as the coronavirus spread and local demand dried up.
With China’s economy rebounding strongly since the second half of last year, its appetite for gold jewellery, bars and coins has also recovered, and since January domestic prices have been higher than global benchmark rates, making it profitable to import bullion.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the nation’s central bank, controls how much gold enters China through a system of quotas given to commercial banks. It usually allows enough metal in to satisfy local demand but sometimes restricts the flow.
Around 150 tonnes of gold worth $8.5 billion at current prices is likely to be shipped, four sources said. Two of the sources said the bullion would be shipped in April.