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China Puts Gold Where Its Money Is

By 2011, China's gold imports had already soared to more than 800 tons per year (excluding the Hong Kong region). However, while India produces practically no gold of its own, China is the world's No. 1 producer. Clearly, China's mined-gold is the government's gold.

This brings us to some number-crunching. In 2001, China reported an increase in its national gold reserves from 394 tons to 500 ton. Then in 2003, it announced the increase to 600 tons. By my calculations, from the beginning of 2002 China has produced approximately 3,600 metric tons of gold. However it has reported only a total increase in its "official" gold reserves of roughly 650 tons.

Even if we assume that some of that remaining 3,000 tons of gold production leaked into its own domestic market (despite the best efforts of China's government), there is a vast amount of mined gold in China that has not been accounted for, and we must strongly suspect that most/all of that gold is securely stored in government vaults.

In other words, instead of having only 1,054 ton of gold reserves, it's quite possible that China could have as much as four times that amount: 4,000 tons. This would make the previously announced goals of China's national "task force" still attainable.

Note that this 4,000-ton figure could be a reality even assuming China had not accumulated any gold internationally. In other words, it could have actually bought gold directly and "broke the rules" in not reporting it, or simply had one or more of its government-directed proxies accumulating (and holding) gold on its behalf.

Thus it is possible that even the 4,000-ton estimate is conservative. This makes recent remarks attributed to no less than the vice governor of the People's Bank of China (its central bank) "inconsistent," to say the least.

The vice governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC) Yi Gang said Wednesday that the country's gold reserves now stand at 1,054 tons, adding that a massive increase is unlikely in the near future.

What's of interest here is China's choice of mouthpiece for this suspiciously contradictory statement. They chose a central banker; individuals with a long history of pathological lying when it comes to gold.
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