Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Cheap Gold Puts China in a Frenzy

Mainland Chinese tourists tempted by the plunging price of gold emptied Hong Kong's local banks and jewelry shops over the weekend of the precious metal.

With the price of gold falling 15 percent in 2013 after a steady 12-year climb, hitting a low of $1,321.95 an ounce on April 16, 2013, China has developed a voracious appetite for the metal, gobbling up more than 300 tons of gold [zh] over the course of 10 days, according to local reports.

Demand is so high that the Shanghai Gold Exchange Market had a record breaking exchange of 43 tons of gold in a single day on April 22.

According to London metals trader Andrew Maguire, 1,000 tons of gold has already been delivered to Shanghai in 2013 . In 2011, the total gold importation was 431.2 tons and 2012 the figure was 834.5 tons.

The rush on Hong Kong left the city empty of most of its gold holdings, according to blog Hong Wrong. Below is Apple Daily's English report on the phenomenon made available on YouTube:

Song Hongbin, a writer of the famous book series “Money War” (貨幣戰爭) in China, highlighted the impressive 10-day figure on popular microblogging site Sina Weibo:


An insider from the investment field revealed that since the drop of gold price on April 12, in 10 days Chinese investors have swallowed up 300 tons of gold, which is like 10% of the annual production of gold worldwide!
Weibo User Anson Feng was in Hong Kong buying gold last weekend and she what she saw in a jewelry shop in her micro-blogs.

Weibo user Anson Feng was in Hong Kong buying gold last weekend and she posted online a photograph of the scene.

His comment prompted much discussion, with some interpreting the frenzy as a sign of domestic crisis or a scheme to draw money out of China.

In Song's comment thread, “Ha Lou” (徽土豆) used traditional Chinese wisdom to explain the phenomena:


People buy all kinds of antiques in times of prosperity, rush for gold when they foresee chaos.

“Zhangnansen 1975″ (盗梦空间里的人) and “Beautiful water in West Lake” (西湖水美) believed that it is related to the failure of the stock market:


“Zhangnansen 1975″: Shi Jianxun [a professor of economics] believes that China's stock market has been left with no value because the privileged classes have turned it into their playground for cashing out money and so ordinary citizens who have been cheated many times still are afraid. Now people have money at hand but there is no where for them to invest. When gold prices drop, they naturally rush for gold.


“Beautiful water in West Lake”: Remember in 2007 when the stock market fell from 6124 to 5000, people went crazy to buy at the low price. However, eventually, the stock index fell to 1664.

“Lihua” (lihua088) and “Liu Jihan” (刘济寒) believed that the Chinese economy is strong enough to beat the world market:

lihua088:中国人 牛啊!

“Lihua”: Chinese people are awesome like bulls!


“Liu Jihan”: The price of a ton of gold is about 280 million yuan (about 45 million US dollars). 300 tons of gold is about 84 billion yuan (about 13.5 billion US dollars). The total bank savings of mainland Chinese residents are more than 18 trillion yuan (2.9137 trillion).

“Future Silver — Xiao Chen” (银在未来-小陈) and “Small reunion” (小团圆92457) predicted that the eventual winners are investors in the U.S:


“Future Silver — Xiao Chen”: The US government and investment banks intend to sell out of gold and silver. Obama met with officials from the Federal Reserve early this month. The Federal Reserve revealed the minutes of the meeting to some institutions and banks, then Goldman Sachs started to forecast that gold price will drop and it drops. This is a trap. The US controls the gold price and we cannot change the trend that in the future 10 years from now, the bull gold market will turn into a bear market and gold prices will continue to drop.

小团圆92457:历史上,散户赢过华尔街的大鳄们么? 黄金已经不可能成为货币了。只是商品。

“Small reunion”: When did we see small investors beat down Wall Street Crocodiles [giant investment banks] in history? Gold is no longer a currency, it is just a merchandise.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site