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Asian market hubs move into gold

Asians buy most of the world’s gold, but nearly all of it trades in London. Now, with Western investors souring on the metal, the region is making a bid for some of the action.
Three big financial hubs in Asia are separately launching trading in a gold contract, each backed with physical gold. If they draw enough investors, the contracts could influence the price of gold, which is set by a daily fix in London.

In the U.S. and Europe, gold is often bought as a hedge against higher consumer prices. But with few signs of inflation, the price of gold has fallen 10% since March and is down by a third since the end of 2012.

In Asia, where the metal remains popular as a store of wealth, demand for gold jewelry, bars and coins is robust. The World Gold Council, an industry body, says demand in China rose to almost 1,300 tons in 2013, up 160% from five years ago, although it expects demand to be flat, at best, this year. In India, buying was 50% higher over the same period at 975 tons.

China is now the world’s largest producer and consumer of gold, and the biggest importer, as domestic demand has outstripped supply. India also is a major buyer and importer. Two-thirds of global gold purchases come from Asia, the World Gold Council says.

Source Market Watch

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