Banks in China have been importing less gold over the past month as demand reduced after the festival season. Cheaper prices at home due to a softer yuan also curbed overseas purchases of the precious metal, banking sources and traders said. A significant drop in import volumes by China, which overtook India as the world’s top gold consumer last year, may reduce hurt global prices of the metal. Gold prices fell 3 percent in March as investors shifted money to better-performing equities.
The cost of importing and delivering gold into China is between $2.50 and $3 an ounce, so banks have to take this into account when considering importing. In 2013, China’s gold imports reached a record 1,158.162 tonnes of gold from Hong Kong – the main conduit for gold into the mainland.