Chinese consumers are turning to gold to protect themselves from the shrinking value of the yuan.
As their country’s economy is struggling, members of China’s working and middle class who can’t buy US dollars or invest in foreign assets hope to find a safety net in the metal.
This gold rush is affecting people across all generations, from Gen Z to older citizens, the South China Morning Post wrote, which also noted the easiest way to buy gold for most is at retail outlets.
But the mass buying of gold bars and jewellery has caused the price of the precious metal to soar to a 13-year high.
One sales manager at a jewellery shop inside a shopping centre in Guangzhou claimed year-on-year sales of gold rose by 20 to 30 per cent in the past two months.
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They told the publication: “In a year, they would have a dozen or so gold beans. Each gold bean weighs a gram, and it was about 500 yuan (£56.19) early this year. Now it has risen to about 600 yuan (£67.42).”
The intense interest in gold has also widened the gap, now at 4.7 per cent, between its domestic and international price.
In the wake of disappointing growth, China’s currency fell in mid-August to its weakest level since November last year.
Bank loans sliding to a 14-year low and a fall in exports by 14.5 per cent recorded in July contributed to undermining the Chinese currency.
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Similarly, the spike in youth unemployment, which in June hit 21.3 per cent, has sparked concerns.
The domestic housing market, however, has been considered the main villain when it comes to China’s struggles.
Despite the shrinking population, many Chinese developers have continued to build new homes – leaving the country with millions of unsold apartments and many of their builders in debt.
Following a regulatory crackdown, many developers were left on the brink of insolvency, while potential buyers and investors saw their confidence in the market thwarted.
China’s economic slowdown left the rest of the world worried, with experts debating whether the international community is facing a crisis similar to 2008 or if it’s more likely to see a long period of stagnation in the region.
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Professor Emilios Avgouleas, Chair of International Banking Law and Finance at the University of Edinburgh, previously told Express.co.uk when discussing whether Britain could be hit by a potential collapse of China’s economy: “The big question [in Britain] is what is the exposure of Hong Kong banks on the Chinese real estate sector.
“Thankfully, there are only two Hong Kong banks with a serious presence in the UK market: Standard Chartered and HSBC. Thanks to legislation, the subsidiaries of those Hong Kong banks should be ring-fenced from their parent companies which means the impact in UK markets should be very limited and mostly contained.
“The possibility of contagion in UK markets is very limited, but there’s possibility of upheaval in global markets.”
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