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Swiss gold exports to Asia tumble as bullion flows to London

Credit: REUTERS/ILYA NAYMUSHIN

Switzerland's gold exports to China and India dwindled in September, with the country instead importing record volumes of bullion from Hong Kong and sending metal to Britain, customs data showed on Tuesday.

By Peter Hobson

LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Switzerland's gold exports to China and India dwindled in September, with the country instead importing record volumes of bullion from Hong Kong and sending metal to Britain, customs data showed on Tuesday.

The figures underline how Western investors have overtaken Asian jewellery buyers as the main driver of gold demand since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

The pandemic has resulted in jewellery shop closures and reduced disposable income among consumers while triggering a rush by investors to stockpile an asset they think will hold its value through the crisis.

Switzerland is a major gold refining and transit centre, while London is a storage and trading hub where investors around the world hoard gold.

Swiss exports of gold to the United States, which surged earlier this year because of higher prices in the U.S. market, fell sharply for a second consecutive month in September.

Switzerland exported 1.5 tonnes of gold to China in September, with 2.4 tonnes exported to Hong Kong and 5 tonnes to India, the customs data shows.

The previous month, it shipped 10 tonnes to China, nothing to Hong Kong and 20.2 tonnes to India as demand in those markets appeared to be recovering.

The dominant flow of gold in September was from east to west. Switzerland imported 37.7 tonnes from Hong Kong, up from 25.5 tonnes in August and the most for any month since Swiss data became available in 2012.

It exported 50.9 tonnes to Britain, up from 18.4 tonnes in August and the most since September last year.

Swiss shipments to the United States fell to 13.5 tonnes from 28.5 tonnes in August and for a second month were almost entirely offset by imports of gold into Switzerland from the United States.

In total, Switzerland exported 105.9 tonnes of gold in September, up from 112 tonnes in August.

Following are the numbers for September 2020 and comparisons.

SWISS TRADE DATA (KG)

EXPORT (kg)

Sep-20

105,913

Aug-20

111,997

Sep-19

109,427

DESTINATION OF SWISS GOLD EXPORTS (KG)

China

Hong Kong

India

United States

Britain

Sep-20

1,500

2,428

4,952

13,457

50,901

Aug-20

10,000

20,163

28,495

18,395

Sep-19

9,977

262

5,349

426

73,996

* Source: Swiss trade data. Data subject to revision by source.

Swiss gold exportshttps://tmsnrt.rs/2Hm8ZL8

(Reporting by Peter Hobson Editing by David Goodman )

((Peter.Hobson@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 0083;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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