China’s net gold imports from Hong Kong slumped to the lowest level in almost a year in a sign that demand in the world’s biggest consumer may be slowing.
Purchases less sales sank to 22.1 metric tons in June from 67.9 tons in May and 36.4 tons a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department. That’s the smallest since July 2014.
Gold prices fell 1.5 percent in June as the U.S. Federal Reserve moved closer to raising borrowing costs for the first time since 2006. Higher rates cut the allure of bullion as the metal doesn’t pay interest or give returns like stocks and bonds. Swiss exports to China also sank in June, falling 26 percent from May. The start of the rout that wiped $4 trillion from Chinese shares may have hurt demand and buyers were also concerned about prospects for more price declines.
“Most investors are sidelined on expectations that the metal will extend its slide when the U.S. increases rates,” Xie Sunjiao, an analyst at Haitong Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai before the data were released.
Bullion plunged the most in two years on July 20, sinking to the lowest since 2010, after the Chinese central bank announced it had purchased about 604 tons in the past six years, less than most analysts had anticipated, taking its holdings to 1,658 tons.
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