China Is Buying Gold Like There’s No Tomorrow – by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Claire Fu (New York Times – May 2024)

The global price of gold has reached its highest levels as Chinese investors and consumers, wary of real estate and stocks, buy the metal at a record pace.

As gold surged this year to its highest price ever, Xena Lin joined the frenzy by making monthly purchases of gold “beans,” pebble-like morsels of the precious metal.

For Ms. Lin, a 25-year-old administrative worker in southern China, the $80 beans — small enough to rest on a fingertip and weighing about one-thirtieth of an ounce — were an affordable way to buy into the gold excitement without splurging for jewelry, gold bars or coins. She had dabbled with investing in stocks in the past, but she said buying gold, especially in this fun way, inspired her to continue investing.

“I’m still working hard to save more,” Ms. Lin said. Often considered a safe investment during times of geopolitical and economic turmoil, gold has soared in price in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the war in Gaza. But gold’s climb to highs above $2,400 per ounce has proved more resilient, and lasted longer, because of China.

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