Record U.S. Gold Bullion Exports Head to Hong Kong & Switzerland

As the Fed continues with its Quantitative Easing policy, U.S. gold bullion exports hit a new record in the first nine months of 2013.  While it’s no secret to anyone in the precious metal community, the majority of U.S. gold exports found their way to Hong Kong and Switzerland.

Not only have gold bullion exports hit new records during Jan-Sept, they have already surpassed the total for 2012.  If we look at the chart below, we can clearly see who has received most of the gold.

2013 Top 3 US Gold Bullion Exports new

In the first nine months of 2013, Hong Kong received 176.3 mt (metric tons), Switzerland 130.9 mt and the United Kingdom 26 mt.  Of the 416 mt of U.S. gold bullion exports Jan-Sept, these three countries received 342 mt or 82% of the total.

Why is this such a big deal?  Because in the first nine months of 2012, total U.S. gold bullion exports were only 283 mt compared to the 416 mt so far this year.  Which means the United States has exported 47% more gold bullion at an additional 133 mt compared to the same period last year.

Furthermore, total U.S. gold bullion exports in 2012 were only 371 mt compared to the 416 mt in the first nine months of 2013.

As the price of gold started to decline in March of this year, including the huge take-down in April, U.S. gold bullion exports picked up significantly:

US Total Gold Bullion Exports

The number of gold bullion exports increased from 40.1 mt in Jan to 62.1 mt in April.  Then we can see they fell in May (38.1 mt) and June (40.7 mt) as the gold buyers were waiting to see if prices would stop falling.  And in June, the price of gold finally bottomed right below $1,200 level.

What is interesting to see here is that there were a higher amount of gold bullion exports in July (64.4 mt) than in April (62.1 mt)

As the price started to rise in July, gold exports to Hong Kong & Switzerland picked up substantially.  The table below details which countries were the recipients of U.S. gold bullion exports.

2013 U.S. Gold Bullion Exports Table

Not only did Hong Kong increase its gold bullion imports from the U.S. in July to 27.9 mt up from 15.5 mt in June, but it jumped even higher in August when it reached a 30.7 mt — a record month for the year.

According to the data from the USGS Gold Mineral Industry Surveys for Jan-Sept 2013, Hong Kong has received a total of 176.3 mt and Switzerland 130.9 mt.  The United Kingdom came in third at 26 mt while Thailand came in fourth at 21. mt, followed by South Africa at 19.5 mt, Canada at 15.3 mt, China at 11 mt and India at 2.7 mt.

There was an additional 13.5 mt that went to several misc. countries in which the United Arab Emirates received the greater share.

Now, I want to make something clear here.  These figures only represent “Gold Bullion” exported out of the United States.  There are also two other categories that come under the heading of gold exports beside manufacturing and scrap supply.  We also have the following:

JAN-SEPT Gold Exports:

Ores & Concentrates = 5.1 metric tons

Dore’ & Precipitates = 152 metric tons

If we add up all the three categories of  U.S. gold exports we have total of 573 metric tons for the first nine months of 2013.  This turns out to be a significant trend when we factor in several other figures.

As U.S. gold exports increased in 2012, its imports have fallen considerably.  The chart below shows the change in U.S. net gold supply:

U.S. Gold Net Supply NEW

The chart is broken down into four components;  Mine Production, Gold Imports, Gold Exports and Net Supply.  There is no real change in U.S. gold mine supply, but we can certainly see that gold imports have fallen off dramatically since 2011.

U.S. gold imports fell to 332 metric tons in 2012 down from 507 metric tons in 2011.  I would imagine overall gold imports in 2013 will be about the same as they were in 2012 when we receive the remaining four months of data from the USGS.

However, the big change here is the large increase of U.S. gold exports.  Total gold exports out of the U.S. increased from 474 mt in 2011 to 693 mt in 2012.  Currently, the United States has exported 573 mt, 45 mt more than the same period last year.

Compiling all the figures  for the past three years (including only Jan-Sept 2013), the United States has a negative 171 mt of net gold supply so far in 2013.  Basically, this means that the U.S. has exported 171 mt more gold than it has produced from its mining sector and imports combined.

In 2011, the U.S. had a positive net supply of 265 mt, but due to high demand for gold abroad this fell in 2012 to a negative 127 mt.  And as you can see, U.S. net gold supply continues to decline — a negative 298 mt since the beginning of 2012.

It will be interesting to see what takes place for the remainder of the year.  If we consider that Hong Kong had record gold imports in October, I would imagine the U.S. supplied a good portion of this amount.

Lastly, when we realize that the majority of U.S. gold exports to Switzerland and the U.K. are probably making their way to the East…. we can assume that the overwhelming majority of the gold leaving the shores of the United States is most certainly ending up in China.

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6 Comments on "Record U.S. Gold Bullion Exports Head to Hong Kong & Switzerland"

  1. Gresham’s law 😀

  2. Where is this data from? What kind of exports from whom exactly does it comprise? I mean, they certainly can’t track ALL gold exports and imports.

  3. Steve, Love your charts. A visual depiction – worth a thousand words.

    Anecdotely speaking;

    Reading stories reported from many different sources on global mint activity, some on record, most off record, show London Good Delivery 400oz. gold bars being melted down and recast into 1kg bars. The preferred gold bar denomination in Asia.

    The question on everyones mind is; Where is the gold?

    The evident answer is China and to a lessor degree India, Vietnam, Shanghai, and Dubai. A mass movement of this size cannot be made without notice and being made public. An interesting ‘off the record’ comment by an employee of a Swiss refiner, brings to mind the obvious ‘tightness’ of gold supply;

    This person recounted, despite running extra shifts around the clock, they could not keep up with the demand for recasting 400oz. bars into 1kg. bars and that some of these 400oz. bars bore mint marks from the 1960’s!

    From this small remark, we may deduce that bullion vaults are being scoured for gold, into the dusty corners where ‘old’ gold had been stored. The sum of all the evidentury information is plain to see. Gold is being drained from the west in increasingly larger quantities, and moving east into very strong hands. It won’t be back for a VERY long time. If ever!

    • After losing 1.5 million dollars in 2008 , I really began watching some of the men behind the curtain particularly those collusions formed after the repeal of the Glass/Steagal act allowed under slick Willie Clinton .
      Two years after 2008 Goldman/Sachs and another well known entity turn around and throw their hands up saying “We were working with the U.S. Treasury so we are immune from your suits” the America I knew was gone . Anyone happen to know where in England Hank Paulson moved to ? . Well … Low and behold the same entities have taken it on themselves to ” Do God’s Work ‘ (Lloyd Blankfein ) and change the geopolitical structure of the world by impoverishing the Western world by pumping their pilfered wealth into the East .
      If a nation’s money is no good and their manufacturing capabilities are gone too , how do you project your will ? You don’t . You are relegated to third world status, your people become abysmally ignorant and brutish , and your Constitutional resolve with your American ideology certainly goes out the window as well .
      Morally bankrupt , we slide into obscurity as the web weavers arrogantly look on .
      Another player in league with Lloyd Blankfein happen to say in a presentation recently that he too is ” Doing God’s work ” . That would be Bill Gates . It’s common knowledge his primary concern is population reduction globally . His Dad was a instrumental figure in Planned Parenthood . Want to speculate on healthcare in the future ?
      There’s a paradigm shift financially and politically coming .It’ll start with the global currency reset about to take place . If your means of existence isn’t in your or your communities hands , it will be in theirs . You choose while you can ?

  4. Hi SRSrocco ,
    Have you considered that Gold and Silver prices are not good for precious metals investors ? Precious metal holders would like to see the price of a one ounce Silver coin at $100 and the price of a one ounce gold coin at $5,000. What would these prices indicate ? These three pieces, talk about how such a huge price rise will not benefit the gold and silver holders. Their precious metal investments would be up but the rest of their life tied to the world economy would be down. i.e. Be careful what you wish for… Part One Part Two Part Three

    Comments appreciated


    On Chinese gold reserves, this SGE report provides provincial details for 2010. Total PROVEN reserves in China (thereby excluding probable reserves, measured, indicated and inferred resources) are stated to be 6,864 tonnes (page 25). If this is indeed correct, we may see Chinese production increasing for many years yet, depending upon ease of extraction, grade, depth, open pit / underground etc.

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