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BENGALURU: China’s net gold imports via Hong Kong rose about 37% in November from the previous month, data showed on Thursday, as the world’s top consumer eased some import restrictions on the metal to meet expected demand for the Chinese New Year.

Net imports stood at 36.801 metric tons in November, compared with 26.793 tons in October, the data showed. November net imports gained 118.4% on a year-on-year basis.

Total gold imports via Hong Kong were up 37% at 46.049 tons compared to last month and up 120.9% from last year.

“Towards the end of the year, China utilized some import quotas and relaxed some imports ahead of the Chinese New Year in February,” said Bernard Sin, regional director of Greater China at MKS PAMP.

“In December, we will see a continuation in imports via Hong Kong and the rest of the world.” The People’s Bank of China controls the amount of gold entering the country via quotas to commercial banks.

The Hong Kong data may not provide a complete picture of Chinese purchases, as gold is also imported via Shanghai and Beijing. Last month, China also saw higher gold shipments on a monthly basis from Switzerland.

The value of China’s gold reserves rose to $145.7 billion at the end of November from $142.17 billion at end-October. Chinese dealers sold gold at premiums of anywhere between $20 and $58 an ounce over global benchmark spot prices last month, from $25-$60 range seen in October.

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