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Swiss gold exports jump 39% to 170 mt in May on Indian demand, a five-month high

London — Gold exports from Switzerland totaled 170 mt in May, up 39% from 122 mt in April, Swiss federal customs data showed Thursday.

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The total is largely unchanged from a year earlier, down 2% from 174 mt in May 2016, but is the highest volume of the year so far.

India was the largest destination for Switzerland's gold for the fifth straight month, with 68 mt exported in May, up from 18.5 mt in May 2016.

The volume is up 40% from April and is the largest export volume to the country for 18 months.



Exports are believed to have climbed in anticipation of widespread tax reforms to India's economy, which include a new 3% goods and service tax on gold, to be levied from July 1.

Year to date, volumes to India totaled 236 mt, up 105% from the same period a year earlier and the highest for at least three years.

Exports to China totaled 28 mt in May, up 47% from 19 mt a year earlier, but down 30% from 40 mt in April.

Flows to Hong Kong totaled 23 mt, up 71% from 14 mt in April and its highest volume since December, but down 3% from 24 mt a year earlier.

Combined, total exports to China and Hong Kong for the first five months of the year totaled 221 mt, up 1.3% from 219 mt in 2016.

Exports to Singapore totaled 10 mt in May, up from just 3 mt in April and 4 mt a year earlier.

Flows west remain low, with exports to the UK below 1 mt for the second month, compared with 66 mt a year earlier.

The UK was the largest destination for Switzerland's gold last year due to a surge in investor demand, especially via gold-backed ETFs, but has fallen away significantly this year.

Exports to the US were up slightly at just under 1 mt, having been below 0.5 mt all year.

Gold prices averaged $1,245/oz in May, according to London Bullion Market Association data, down from $1,265.60/oz in April.

Spot gold was priced at $1,250/oz Thursday at 1430 GMT, up around $2 day on day.

--George King Cassell, george.king.cassell@spglobal.com
--Edited by Annie Siebert, ann.siebert@spglobal.com