China And Russia Are Now World's Biggest Shoppers Of Gold

FILE PHOTO: Marked ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold are placed in a cart at a plant owned by Krastsvetmet, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of non-ferrous metals, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, April 9, 2019.
(Photo: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/File Photo)

Prices of gold have been soaring -- big time -- and inflation has nothing to do with it, neither does geopolitical or any economic anxiety that Wall Street or Asian traders know of. It's just climbing at 1.7% a year.

Here's a quick look at its current market behavior: Gold has been rising 11% during the past two months. Over the last year, it soared 15%, which is more than the S&P 500, or the NASDAQ Composite in the same period.

Gold's upward trend is also more than the so-called FAANG stocks: Facebook (down 1.90%), Apple Inc (down 0.90%), Amazon (down 1.56%), Netflix (down 0.90%) and Google's Alphabet (also down 0.87%) - that are so hyped-up on Wall Street.

What's causing this precious metal to shine brighter this year?

According to Crispin Odey, London's Odey Asset Management hedge fund manager, gold caught his attention during the stock market collapse in the fall of 2018. The yellow metal "should have gone down last year," Odey said.

The yellow metal was supposed to have finished the year at $1,000 per ounce, Odey noted, but "Instead it was $1,200. I thought, 'Something's going on here.'"

So, what's behind gold's increasing appeal and market value? Some of Uncle Sam's biggest economic competitors were jacking up their inventories of the precious metal. To be specific: China and Russia.

In fact, these two countries are still actually ramping up their gold deposits, perhaps their own way of dealing with the American's currency stranglehold on the global financial system.

For instance, the China National Gold Group (CNGG), the nation's premier gold producer, recorded solid growth in gold production and sales in the first half of 2019. CNGG's revenues hit 47.6 billion yuan ($7 billion) in the period, CNGG President Song Xin disclosed.

The People's Bank of China hiked its acquisition of the precious metal for the 7th consecutive month in June. Chinese gold stockpiles totaled 61.95 million ounces in the same month, rising 330,000 ounces from a month earlier.

And now, Russia. The country's appetite for gold is just insatiable: it bought 200,000 ounces of gold on January, 1 million ounces in February, more than half a million ounces the following month, 550,000 ounces in April and 200,000 ounces in May, making Russia a force to reckon with in gold shopping.

Based on the latest reports, gold comprises 20% of the country's foreign reserves, making it officially the biggest buyer of gold in the world today.

© 2019 Business Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Sign Up for Newsletters and Alerts