* Net HK gold exports to China rise 77 pct to 67,400 kg
* Imports from China rise 38 percent on month to 34,368 kg
* April HK gold exports to China 101,768 kg (Adds details, comments)
By Rujun Shen
SINGAPORE, June 4 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s gold shipments to mainland China in April jumped 62 percent to the second-highest level on record, while gold flow from China increased to an unprecedented level, official Hong Kong trade data showed on Monday.
Hong Kong shipped out 101,768 kg of gold to mainland China in April, and received 34,368 kg from China, which brings the net exports to 67,400 kg, a surge of 77 percent on the month, according to the data posted on the website of the government agency. (www.censtatd.gov.hk)
Last November, a record 102,525 kg of gold arrived in China from Hong Kong, a gold trading hub and a main conduit for gold flow into China.
Spot gold hit a record high of $1,920.30 last September, and prices then stabilised in March and April.
“It could partly be caused by the levelling of volatility,” said Nick Trevethan, senior metals strategist at ANZ in Singapore.
“The first quarter looked to start strongly and it did, which might have encouraged people to book materials in response to a more stable price environment.”
Several market participants recalled slow business in the physical market in April, and were unable to comment on why both gold imports and exports rose so strongly in the month.
In the first four months of the year, Hong Kong sent a total of 237,287 kg of gold to China, and received 70,688 kg from the mainland.
On an annualised basis, net gold exports to China could reach nearly 500 tonnes in 2012, compared with last year’s 380 tonnes, according to Reuters calculations.
China has overtaken India as the world’s top gold consumer in the past two quarters, with consumer gold demand in the first quarter of 2012 hitting a record high of 255.2 tonnes, said the World Gold Council.
China does not publish gold trade data.
China has not announced any change in its official gold holdings in more than four years, although speculation that Beijing has been quietly accumulating gold has helped support gold prices.
Gold slightly on Monday as losses on the wider financial markets prompted some selling after the metal’s biggest one-day price rise in over three years, but was supported by speculation the Federal Reserve could unveil a new round of monetary easing.
Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,621.64 an ounce at 1121 GMT. (Editing by Anthony Barker)