The WGC has revised its estimate of China’s 2013 consumer demand to 1,275 tonnes, up from their initial estimate of 1,066 tonnes.
My research on the Shanghai Gold Exchange and the structure of the Chinese gold market was, inter alia, confirmed in September this year by the work of Na Liu (CNC Asset Management Ltd.). As myself Na concluded Chinese wholesale gold demand equals withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange and this is far greater than demand reported by the World Gold Council.
The World Gold Council (WGC) has never openly responded to my publications. However, Na met with the WGC Market Intelligence team, the discussion that ensued led the WGC to rectify their 2013 Chinese demand numbers. From CNC Asset Management, November 27 2014:
We are pleased to report that we just had an in-depth discussion with the Market Intelligence team of the World Gold Council (WGC). Our discussion focuses on how to explain the significant gap between China’s consumer demand of gold, as defined and reported by the WGC to be just over 1,000 tonnes in 2013, and China’s wholesale demand, as defined and reported by us to be about 2,200 tonnes based on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) vault withdrawals during 2013. The following are our takeaways from the discussion:
First, the WGC has revised up its estimate of China’s 2013 consumer demand to 1,275 tonnes, up from their initial estimate of 1,066 tonnes.
Click here to read the full report.
The rest of the report from CNC Asset Management sums up, again, all the reasons given by the WGC that should explain the remaining difference between SGE withdrawals and WGC demand numbers. The WGC has published two reports on the Chinese gold market since April that both failed to clarify the difference. In fact, the reports led to even more speculation about why the WGC was withholding essential data about the Chinese gold market. In September I wrote:
…as time goes by and knowledge about the Chinese gold market is slowly spreading through the international gold space, the more pressure is building on WGC demand numbers regarding China.
According to the China Gold Association (CGA) demand in 2013 was 2,199 tonnes, which leaves a difference of 924 tonnes with the revised numbers from the WGC. The aggregated difference from 2007 until 2013 is 2,172 tonnes. The next chart is scanned from the China Gold Yearbook 2014, which is only published in hard copies written in Mandarin. It shows Chinese gold demand reported by the CGA.
Additionally, 2014 will at least add 900 tonnes to the aggregated difference. At year end the total aggregated difference will be well over 3,100 tonnes.
In a forthcoming post I will once again share where I disagree with all the excuses the WGC presents in the CNC Asset Management report. A few more details I have to work out about the gold lease market, after which I can demonstrate the WGC is simply unwilling to accurately report on Chinese gold demand.
From the latest CNC Asset Management report:
…Both the WGC and we at CNC believe that more work needs to be done to understand China’s actual gold demand.
This is very hard to swallow, the WGC has been involved in the Chinese gold market since 1999 and they have two offices in China with numerous Chinese employees, yet they state “more work needs to be done to understand China’s actual gold demand”.
Additionally, I will share my disagreement with Jeffrey Christian from CPM Group on SGE withdrawals. Mr Christian has recently send an email to Mineweb.com, stating Chinese demand is lower than SGE withdrawals because scrap is higher than most are capable of understanding (including the CGA apparently). A quote from Mr Christian’s email:
…I assume anyone writing about fabrication demand levels for gold knows this, but thought I would mention it to you in case it’s news to you. I know that when I mention it in presentations to mining executives, institutional investors, Eric Sprott, the WGC, and other gold market participants or observers, they often have no idea of this, and sometimes cannot even understand the processes I am describing.
His reasoning reminded me of what he wrote on my blog earlier this year:
Over the years the ‘over-age’ of SGE withdrawals to estimated demand has ranged from 14% to 41%. People may say that one equals the other, but they simply do not.
…I could bore you witless with examples of similarly cavalier use of language and statements from around the world’s precious metals market. I won’t. Many things simply are not as they seem to be, nor as they are said to be.
Meanwhile Chinese wholesale gold demand, measured by withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE), remains strong. In week 47 withdrawals accounted for 52 tonnes, year to date the counter has reached 1,813 tonnes.
Corrected by trading volume on the Shanghai International Gold Exchange (SGEI), Chinese wholesale demand in week 47 was in between 49 and 52 tonnes, year to date in between 1,795 tonnes and 1,813 tonnes. For the next chart I have used the most conservative estimate.