China's position as world's number one gold consumer above India appears to have been shortlived with latest customs data showing gold shipments to China from Hong Kong fell 32% in 2014 compared to a blockbuster 2013.
Net imports by mainland China amounted to 750 tonnes last year, down from 1,109 tonnes in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department. Imports in December fell 36% from the same month a year earlier.
While a retreat had been expected given the fact that imports doubled in 2013, most forecasters thought the lacklustre gold price would entice Chinese bargain hunters.
"Demand for luxury goods including bullion has been hurt by an anti-graft drive in China, while a rally in stock markets damped interest in the metal as an investment," Bloomberg offers as possible explanation for the drop in demand.