TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – US gold exports for the fourth quarter 2014 were 58% greater than in the third quarter, owing to an 83% increase in fourth-quarter bullion exports compared with third-quarter exports, the US Geological Survey (USGS) revealed on Friday.
The USGS’s most recent mineral industry survey found that most of the bullion export increase in the period was, in descending order, owing to Switzerland (29 400 kg increase), Hong Kong (23 800 kg) and India (10 200 kg), with the increase partially offset by a 6 100 kg decrease in exports to the UK.
Total gold imports for the fourth quarter were 12% lower than those in the third quarter, mainly owing to reductions of gold bullion imports from Canada, South Africa and Switzerland.
Last year, total gold imports were 308 000 kg, slightly less than in 2013. The decrease of almost 30 000 kg of gold doré imports was partially offset by the increase of almost 23 000 kg of gold bullion imports.
In 2014, total gold exports were 500 000 kg, a 28% decrease compared with 2013 exports. Exports of gold bullion declined by 110 000 kg, doré declined by almost 78 000 kg and gold in ore and concentrates declined by almost 3 000 kg.
Historically, South Africa did not import gold bullion from the US; however, with declining gold mine output, the Rand Refinery in South Africa had required gold to produce gold Krugerrands and bars. From 2008 to 2013, South Africa imported more than 55 000 kg of gold bullion from the US.
In February and March of 2013, South Africa imported 19 200 kg of gold bullion from the US, but last year, the country did not import any gold bullion. From 2008 to 2013, South Africa exported about 4 000 kg of gold bullion, with exports to the US growing as the country's output rose in 2014 to 7 980 kg of gold in July and August.