As the U.S. economy continues to writhe in the clutches of recession, sustainable growth — both in corporate profits and economic output — seems distant.
In China, however, near-term recovery is a reality.
Real estate, automobile, and industrial sales have all rebounded, driving stocks on the Shanghai exchange up as much as 85% for the year.
In fact, the acceleration of China’s comeback has been so strong the World Bank recently increased its estimate for the country’s GDP growth this year from 6.5% to 7.2%.
All of this makes China an alluring prospect for investors again. Especially when you consider. . .
China’s Gold Investment Potential
In the mid-1990s, the Chinese government revolutionized the country’s gold industry.
Lawmakers began reforms that encouraged small gold producers to consolidate and, more importantly, allowed foreign companies to form joint ventures with Chinese companies.
It was a brilliant move.
Foreign companies — mainly from the United States and Canada — brought modern mineral exploration techniques, management practices, financial controls, and industrial, environmental and safety standards.
The single most important asset foreign companies brought the Chinese gold industry, however, was money.
As foreign investment capital gushed into China, the number of projects skyrocketed, leading to new gold discoveries.
As a result, China’s total gold production has steadily increased 7.4% annually and 66.9% since 1999. And in 2007, China became the world’s largest gold producer, overtaking South Africa, which held the title as top gold producer for over 100 years. Take a look:
Gold production in China continues to rise.
In the first half of this year, Chinese gold production has increased 13.5% year-on-year to 146.51 tonnes, worth almost $5 billion at current gold prices.
Further growth in Chinese gold production is forecast for the rest of 2009. Estimates suggest China’s total gold output for 2009 will near 300 tonnes, solidifying the country’s position as the world’s largest producer:
China’s Gold Reserves
Despite a significant increase in production over the past several years, China is still a very "gold poor" country when considering the country’s gold reserves.
China controls the seventh largest gold reserve in the world with 1,054 tonnes. But these reserves only represent 1.8% of the nation’s total foreign reserves. Compare this to the United States, which holds 8,133 tonnes of gold, representing 78.3% of its total foreign reserves.
Also, with a population of 1.33 billion, the world’s most populous country only holds 0.0280 ounces of gold in its reserves for every Chinese citizen. Compare this again to the United States, which holds 0.9436 ounces of gold in its foreign reserves for every American citizen.
China is, however, rapidly increasing her gold reserves.
Since 2003, the country has increased its reserves of gold by 76%. And with all the talk about diversifying from the American dollar, it is likely that China will continue increasing her gold reserves going forward.
The future is China. By 2050, it’s estimated that China will overtake the U.S. as the biggest economy in the world. I recommend keeping a close eye on China and Chinese gold stocks.
There are several new Chinese gold stocks that I am currently investigating. I will keep you updated on my findings in upcoming issues of Gold World.
Contributing Editor, Gold World
Investment Director, Mining Speculator