The spot price of gold in China is on its way to being the cheapest in 18 months relative to the international benchmark inLondon, indicating waning demand from the world’s largest consumer.
Bullion for immediate delivery on the Shanghai Gold Exchange was $1.40 an ounce below the price in London on a monthly average basis, the first time the Shanghai rate is cheaper than the London price since Sept. 2012, data tracked by Bloomberg News show.
Weakening consumption from China may weigh on the global benchmark price that fell 2.2 percent this month. The price rose 10 percent in January and February, the best start to a year since 2008, as the country more than doubled its net gold imports from Hong Kong in the months. A weaker yuan also undermined bullion’s appeal for the so-called trade financing deals, in which Chinese investors use the precious metal as collateral to get credit.
The discount “proved that as gold gets more expensive, it deterred price-sensitive Chinese consumers from returning to the market after Lunar New Year holidays,” said Fu Peng, chief commodity strategist at Galaxy Futures Co. in Beijing.
Gold for immediate delivery in London reached a six-month high of $1,392.33 an ounce on March 17 on a haven demand amid escalating tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine. The price was little changed at $1,297.02 an ounce at 9:16 a.m. in Beijing, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. Bullion of 99.99 percent purity on the Shanghai bourse traded at 259.03 yuan a gram ($1,296.7 an ounce).