The U.S. and Germany accounted for most of the gold exports out of Switzerland last month, as Swiss trade data showed a marked change from the norm as key Asian gold-consuming nations imported almost none, said Metals Focus.
Gold-market participants closely monitor the Swiss data since the country is a key hub for refining of precious metals. April exports from Switzerland rose for the second straight month in April even though major refineries were fully or partially shut down form several weeks starting in late March. April exports to the U.S. hit a record high of 43 metric tons (in fine-weight terms) in March, then soared to 111 tons in April.
“Such a notable surge also saw the U.S. overtake Greater China to become the largest destination for Swiss gold bullion exports for 2020 to date,” Metals Focus said. “To put this into perspective, at an average of less than 2t per month, the U.S. accounted for only 1% of Swiss exports over 2014-2019. Growing concerns about a shortage of physical gold deliveries on Comex (as a result of coronavirus lockdowns) was the key driver behind this surge.”
Germany imported eight tons of gold from Switzerland in April, half the record level of March but still historically high, the consultancy said. Excluding the U.S. and Germany, Swiss gold exports were only seven tons in April, compared to a monthly average of 121 from 2014 to 2019, Metals Focus noted. Many nations had their lowest Swiss imports ever in April, with mainland China importing none, while Hong Kong and India slumped to just one and 500 kilograms, respectively.
This was due to retailers being closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and consumers shying away from discretionary purchases such as jewelry, Metals Focus said.