© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Gold bars from the vault of a bank are seen in this illustration picture taken in Zurich, Switzerland, November 20, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
LONDON (Reuters) – Swiss shipments of gold to the United States surged in March to their highest since May 2020, Swiss customs data showed, as investors spooked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the threat of a global economic slowdown stocked up on bullion.
Switzerland’s exports to Britain, which like the United States is a centre for gold investment and trading, also rose, while shipments of gold to China and India, the biggest consumer markets, fell sharply.
Switzerland is the world’s biggest refining and transit centre for gold, an asset typically seen as a safe place to store wealth in times of economic and political turmoil.
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) storing gold for investors added 185 tonnes worth around $15 billion to their stockpile in March, the most since July 2020, according to the World Gold Council.
Such strong investor demand pushed up gold prices in February and March. Higher prices often put off retail consumers in Asia.
Swiss exports to mainland China and Hong Kong fell in March to their lowest in a year and shipments to India were the smallest since May 2021. Exports to Britain were the highest since June 2021.
Gold was trading around $1,900 an ounce on Tuesday.
Following are numbers and comparisons.
SWISS TRADE DATA (KG)
SHIPMENTS TO KEY MARKETS (KG)
To China To Hong To India To To the
Kong Britain U.S.
11,000 55 4,952 17,980 81,548
35,500 10,575 32,761 5,295 3,541
9,389 31 82,641 469 1,514
* Source: Swiss customs. Data subject to revision by source.
(The story is updated to correct dates in tables )