China is buying gold again and that is not a good sign for the stock market

China’s army of retail investors have swapped stocks and shares for the ultimate safe haven — gold.

The country’s net gold imports from Hong Kong rose to a huge 97.2 tonnes last month from 59.3 tonnes in August, according to data obtained by Reuters from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department.

Imports have risen for three straight months, according to the Reuters report.

Demand often peaks in the months before Chinese New Year, but overall the trend points to dwindling faith in the stock market as a store of wealth after a series of sudden crashes this year.

Here’s the key quote from the report (emphasis ours):

Now that the stock market euphoria has been stamped out and reality has finally (and painfully) set in, the public and many casual retail investors have now lost faith in the stock market, and this has certainly boosted gold’s attractiveness as an investment vehicle.

Stocking up on gold might not be a bad idea. The price generally rises when central banks ease monetary policy. With inflation stuck at near zero in many economies, the US, the UK and Eurozone central banks have signalled they will postpone expected rate rises.

Gold is hovering around $US1,100-$US1,200 an ounce. You can see the dip in July when the US Fed hinted at a rate rise in September and the recovery when it didn’t happen:

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