Did a PBOC Covertly Buy 1,747 Tonnes of Gold in London?

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Did a PBOC Covertly Buy 1,747 Tonnes of Gold in London?

Did a PBOC Covertly Buy 1,747 Tonnes of Gold in London?

By:  Koos Jansen – BullionStar


The London Float And PBOC Gold Purchases

This BullionStar blogpost is partial of a sequential storyline. Please make certain you’ve review The Mechanics Of The Chinese Domestic Gold Market, PBOC Gold Purchases: Separating Facts from Speculation and The London Bullion Market And International Gold Trade, or it will be formidable to know the finesses. 

This week we listened to an talk with a Swiss refiner that soon reminded me of an talk we conducted with Alex Stanczyk (currently Managing Director of Physical Gold Fund SP) on 9 Sep 2013 about what he was conference from attention insiders on Chinese bullion demand. Back afterwards we knew unequivocally small about a Chinese bullion marketplace and how earthy bullion opposite a creation was issuing towards China. This started to change on 18 Sep 2013 when we published my initial research on a structure of a Chinese bullion marketplace with a Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) during a core; a subject that given afterwards has been discussed by researchers during investment banks, in a blogosphere and in a mainstream media. The Western bullion space has schooled a good bargain about a Chinese bullion marketplace and tellurian bullion flows, yet we’re always left with loose ends. For example, a issue per PBOC bullion purchases; how many bullion do they truly have and where was it bought? Does a PBOC buy 400-ounce Good Delivery (GD) bars in London and stealthily transports these bullion bars to a bullion vaults in China mainland, or are a Good Delivery bullion bars shipped to Switzerland, polished into 1 Kg 9999 bullion bars, sent brazen to a Chinese mainland where they’re compulsory to be sole by a SGE bullion sell and from where they can be bought (in transparent sight) by a PBOC. The latter would indicate that a full bullion upsurge would be manifest for anyone with an Internet connection.

Yesterday I re-read my talk with Alex from Sep 2013 in that he common information from industry insiders. From Alex (September 2013):

One of a partners had lunch in a new past with a conduct of a largest tellurian operations association in confidence transport. He pronounced there is a lot of bullion that they’re relocating into China that’s not going by exchanges. If a bullion is for a supervision they don’t have to announce where it’s going. They don’t have to announce where it’s going in, or where it’s heading. If we demeanour during a approach a Chinese do things, given would they tell? 

With a believe we have now, this quote from 2013 is even some-more interesting, as it describes what has come together in a past years through several analysis. Consider a following:

  • Good Delivery bullion bars can be monetized – in countries like a UK, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Singapore – from where they can be shipped into China while circumventing global trade statistics. This is given financial Good Delivery bullion bars are free from tellurian trade statistics (UN, IMTS 2010). Needless to contend financial imports into China are conducted by a PBOC.
  • Non-monetary Good Delivery bullion bars (declared during general etiquette departments) alien into the Chinese domestic bullion market are compulsory to be sole by a SGE. However, trade volume during a SGE in GD bars has been a small 3 tonnes in all of history.

We can thus conclude that if any Good Delivery bullion bars have entered China these did not go through a SGE complement where Chinese citizens, banks and institutions buy gold. Instead, it’s expected that a Good Delivery bullion bars that crossed a Chinese limit went directly to a PBOC vaults.

More from Alex (September 2013):

…We talked to a conduct of a largest refinery in Switzerland and he told us directly that all that steel that’s entrance out of London is being polished into kilo bars and sent to China, as good as steel that’s entrance in from other areas in a world, that’s all going to China. It’s approach some-more than is being reported or changed by a exchanges. All a kilo bars go to a Chinese people though a PBOC is expected usually shopping good smoothness [GD].

There we have it. More clues a PBOC does not buy bullion by a SGE (where usually bullion bars smaller than GD are traded). But there is more.

Although, it’s probably unfit to lane financial bullion flows, a slightest we can do is try. In new weeks Ronan Manly, Bron Suchecki, Nick Laird and we conducted a small review with honour to how many financial and non-monetary bullion is left in a UK. Luckily for us, a London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) has published a few estimates in new years about a sum volume of earthy bullion in London (monetary and non-monetary). In 2011, it was 9,000 tonnes. In 2015, it had forsaken to 6,256 tonnes – expected all in GD bars. These estimates from a LBMA sum with a review have resulted in a subsequent charts (conceived by Nick Laird, Sharelynx):



For a improved bargain of earthy bullion located in London we can review this post by Ronan, this post by Nick or have a demeanour during a subsequent blueprint recognised by Jesse (Cafe Americain):


According to bullion trade information from HMRC, a UK saw a net (non-monetary) bullion outflow from 1 Jan 2011 to 30 Jun 2015 of 997 tonnes. Have a demeanour during a draft below. The UK net exported 1,425 tonnes in 2013. In 2014 net export fell to 448 tonnes. Add to that a UK net alien 904 tonnes in 2012.

UK Gold Trade 2011 - Jun 2015

We don’t know exactly when in 2011 a LBMA totalled there were 9,000 tonnes of bullion in London, though it doesn’t unequivocally matter. In a draft above we can see that a many poignant movements since 2011 have taken place in 2012 and 2013. If we measure a flow of bullion from a UK between 2012 and 2014, a net outflow is 970 tonnes. So it’s not that critical when in 2011 a 9,000 tonnes were counted by a LBMA. What is critical is that given 2011 not some-more than 997 tonnes of non-monetary bullion has left a UK, according to executive trade statistics. 

Nick Laird and I noticed that although a sum volume of earthy bullion in London fell roughly 2,744 tonnes (9,000 – 6,256) over four years (graph 1), usually 997 tonnes were net exported as non-monetary bullion (graph 4). This creates me consternation where a residual 1,747 tonnes (2,744 – 997) went. Possibly, this bullion has been monetized in a UK and stealthily shipped to a executive bank in Asia, for instance China. we don’t have stone hard evidence, but it fits right into the wider analyses.

Furthermore, from 2006 to 2011, a UK was a net importer each year. If a 9,000 tonnes guess by a LBMA was hopelessly outdated, say, it was from 2008, this would boost a “missing gold” even some-more (as net export over a years would have been smaller than 997 tonnes).

What stands out for now is, (i) a LBMA has settled there were 9,000 tonnes of earthy bullion in London in 2011 and (ii) bullion trade provided by HMRC reflects all earthy transformation of non-monetary bullion in and out of a UK. Both these handles have zero to do with difficult manners on changes in ownership of bullion in London (that I’m wakeful of). Therefor we contingency interpretation 2,744 tonnes left a UK given 2011, though usually 997 tonnes was seen withdrawal as non-monetary gold. Where did a residual 1,747 tonnes go?

This review is far from finished, subsequent we will research historic UK bullion trade – as distant behind as possible. Hopefully we can find another square of a puzzle.