Proof of China’s massive appetite for gold is coming from Swiss customs data. The Swiss exported 524 metric tons of gold to mainland China and Hong Kong in 2022, a nearly 50 percent jump from the prior year.
The year-end data from Switzerland, the world’s leading gold refining and transit hub, may help solve the mystery of which country amassed a huge gold hoard during the third quarter. Central banks accumulated a record 400 tons of gold during the third quarter of 2022, according to the World Gold Council. But the Council publicly identified only about one-quarter of the purchases. Market
speculation has focused on China as the likely buyer.
Switzerland imports gold bullion from storage centers and mines around the globe,
processes the precious metal, and then exports it.
While the bulk of Switzerland’s gold exports to China normally go to satisfy retail demand, it’s very possible some of it was also delivered to the central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), which has a history of being secretive about its purchases. In November of 2022, it announced the purchase of 32 tons of gold. That was China’s first publicly reported purchase in more than three years, even though it’s well known the PBOC has been working to “de-dollarize” the country’s financial reserves.