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Gold loses its luster as imports fall
GOLD imports by the Chinese mainland from Hong Kong dropped for a second month in June as an economic slowdown curbed spending.
The mainland bought 67.97 tons, including scrap and coins, down from 75.64 tons in May, according to export data released yesterday by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong government. The mainland imported a record 103.64 tons in April.
The World Gold Council has cut its forecast for increased demand in China this year, citing a stronger US dollar and slower growth in jewelry sales. Economic growth in China fell in the second quarter to the slowest pace in three years. The country was the world's largest gold user last year after India.
"The economic slowdown in China is definitely a contributing factor to lower gold demand," said Liu Yangyi, an investment consultant at the Bank of China. "People are cautious about where and how they spend their money, and in these uncertain times, many would rather just hold cash."
Gold is 1.9 percent higher this year as central banks joined investors in diversifying assets.
The mainland exported 27.51 tons of gold to Hong Kong in June, according to a separate Statistics Department statement, down from 32.74 tons in May and compared with 12.73 tons in June 2011.
A government report this week showed the Purchasing Managers' Index of China's manufacturing unexpectedly fell to 50.1 in July, the weakest level in eight months. China will conduct policy fine-tuning at an appropriate time, the People's Bank of China said on Thursday.
Gold demand in China may expand 13 percent to 870 tons in 2012, the World Gold Council said last month, dropping an earlier forecast for usage to reach as much as 1,000 tons. Jewelry demand may expand 7.7 percent to 550 tons, slower than the 13 percent growth last year, said Albert Cheng, Far East managing director at the producer-funded group.