GOLD has soared past coal as Australia’s second most valuable physical export to China, with sales up a whopping 900 per cent for the first eight months of the year, bringing in $4.1 billion.
Chinese buyers are hoarding the precious metal amid a slowing economy, property-buying restrictions and uncertain financial markets as its central bank increases its holdings.
The unprecedented jump in gold sales, along with continued acceleration of export revenues for other commodities led by coal — up 80 per cent to $4bn — caused total exports to China to rise by 10.7 per cent for the year to August, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.
Shipments of Australia’s biggest export, iron ore, were up 20 per cent for the same period but the total value of $26.9bn was down 5 per cent compared to last year, because of the mid-year price slump.
China’s foreign currency reserves of gold are low and its move to build them up will provide an important base demand for gold, analysts said.