Yang Cuiyan, a 41-year-old housekeeper from Anhui province, is one reason China is poised to topple India as the world’s top consumer of gold even as investors desert the metal.
Standing outside Beijing’s busiest jewelry store, wearing a thick coat against the autumn chill, she clasps a gold necklace that cost her 10,000 yuan ($1,640), or five months’ wages.
“I don’t know anything about the stock market and I don’t have enough money to buy property, so I figured gold is the safest choice,” she said. “I can put it on when I go back home to show everyone that I’m doing well.”
Images in Chinese media of aunties clearing shelves in gold shops after a 14 percent plunge in prices in two days in April illustrate an appetite for bullion that defies the views of the biggest banks in the West and points to limited investment choices in China.
“In China, you look around and see very few places to put your money,” said Duan Shihua, a partner at Shanghai Leading Investment Management Co. “With the share market down and the government nudging people away from real estate, gold will remain a favored choice.”
“I don’t want to put my money in a bank,” said Yang, the auntie from Anhui. “I want to keep up with my relatives and friends back home. We all like to compete to see whose necklace is thicker.”-from Bloomberg