March 19, 2020 / 10:28 AM / 18 days ago

Swiss gold exports plunge as shipments to China collapse

    LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - Swiss exports of gold fell to
the lowest since at least 2012 in February as shipments to top
consumer China all but halted, customs data showed on Thursday. 
    The plunge in trade came as China fought to contain an
outbreak of coronavirus by shutting down the movement of people
and goods. The virus has since spread worldwide.  
    Switzerland -- a major trading, vaulting and refining centre
for precious metals -- shipped 2 tonnes of gold to China in
February, down from 17 tonnes in January. The shipments were the
lowest since May 2014. 
    Shipments to Hong Kong fell to just 10kg, the lowest since
monthly data became available in 2012, from 23.6 tonnes in
January. 
    In total, Switzerland exported 42.7 tonnes of gold in
February, less than half the 87.4 tonnes shipped the previous
month. 
    Exports to India, the second biggest gold consumer after
China, held up better at 9.6 tonnes in February, up from 8.5
tonnes in January. India has so far been less affected by
coronavirus. 
    Following are the numbers for February 2020 and comparisons.
    
    SWISS TRADE DATA (KG)    
              EXPORT (kg)
      Feb-20       42,744
      Jan-20       87,446
      Feb-19       63,530
    
    DESTINATION OF SWISS GOLD EXPORTS (KG)    
              To China     To Hong      To India
                           Kong         
      Feb-20        2,000           10        9,591
      Jan-20       17,000       23,583        8,541
      Feb-19        6,250        5,137       15,834
 
    * Source: Swiss trade data. Data subject to revision by
source.
      
    

 (Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Edmund Blair)
  
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