Yesterday we covered the supply side of the gold market from the perspective of global mints, which were kind enough to advise that they “can’t meet the demand, even if we work overtime.” Today, courtesy of Bloomberg, we take a closer look at the demand aspect of the physical gold market, which as most know by now can be described with just one word: China.
But first, while we already know that global mints are working 24/7 and still are unable to meet record demand, in spite or or due to, plunging prices of paper gold, here is how the market looks from the perspective of one of the biggest gold refiners in the world: MKS SA’s PAMP refiner in Switzerland, “whose bullion sales to China surged to a record as demand rose for coins, bars and jewelry. PAMP Managing Director Mehdi Barkhordar, who credited China’s “insatiable” appetite for a sales boost of as much as 20 percent last year, remains optimistic even as growth in the world’s second-largest economy slows. “The demand in China is off its peak, but still respectable,” he said last week.”
Off its peak? Really – where? Certainly not in Singapore where the largest provider of precious-metals logistics and storage, Brink’s, is adding room on top of a vault the company opened in 2012 at the Singapore Freeport building next to Changi International Airport, with a sleek, modernist lobby and a twisting, polished-steel sculpture by Ron Arad that stands 5 meters high. Inside, the gold bars are protected by prison-like barriers, two body scanners and 8-ton, fireproof gates.
Explain to us how this is “off its peak”:
“We need additional capacity, so we have to take further space,” said Baskaran Narayanan, the 45-year-old Singapore general manager for Richmond, Virginia-based Brink’s. “There’s a surge in demand for precious metals in Asia, and one can see the focus and movement from the west to the east.”
A new Brink’s vault in Singapore set to open by March