July 21, 2020 / 10:44 AM / 17 days ago

Torrent of gold from Switzerland to the U.S. starts to ebb

FILE PHOTO: Liquid gold is poured to form grains at Swiss refinery Metalor in Marin near Neuchatel, Switzerland July 5, 2019. Picture taken July 5, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The volume of gold moving from Switzerland to the United States to satisfy demand from investors seeking a store of value fell from record levels in June, with shipments dropping by almost half to 68.3 tonnes, Swiss customs data showed on Tuesday.

Shipments from Switzerland to traditional top buyers China and India, meanwhile, remained close to zero, with no gold going to China for a fourth consecutive month.

The coronavirus crisis has flipped the usual order of the global gold market, in which Switzerland is the biggest refining and transit centre.

Sales of jewellery in Asia have collapsed, while investors in Europe and North America have pushed prices XAU= to 9-year highs, stockpiling gold bars in the hope they will hold their value better than other assets.

On top of that, disruption to global supply chains has pushed prices of U.S. gold futures GCc1 above global prices, incentivising shipments to New York.

From March to June, Switzerland sent 349.7 tonnes of gold worth about $20 billion at current prices to the Unites States, and just 8.7 tonnes to China, Hong Kong and India combined.

In the same four months of last year, Switzerland shipped 2.1 tonnes of gold to the United States and 263.1 tonnes to China, Hong Kong and India combined.

In total, Switzerland exported 96.4 tonnes of gold in June, down from 141.9 tonnes in May.

Following are the numbers for June 2020 and comparisons.

Reporting by Peter Hobson; editing by Barbara Lewis

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