TOKYO Jan 30 Japan imported more gold that it
shipped overseas in December, the first time the country has
been a net importer on a monthly basis since July 2010.
Imports totaled 3,429 kilograms (kg) in December, while the
country exported 1,544 kg, leaving it with net purchases of
1,885 kg, according to customs data released by the Ministry of
Finance on Thursday.
It was only the tenth time that Japan has been a net monthly
buyer of gold since the end of 2005, the last year the country
was a net importer on an annual basis.
Japanese holders of gold have been selling jewellery and
bars to pay for other purchases and spending, including on
children's education, amid the stagnant economic growth and
deflation that the country is now emerging from.
Japan remains a net exporter on an annual basis and shipped
more than 50 metric tonnes of gold overseas last year, according
to the customs data.
Spot gold fell about 0.4 percent on Thursday to
$1262.56 an ounce as buyers from China, the world's biggest
importer, stayed away from the market in advance of the Lunar
Gold dropped 28 percent last year on an improving global
economy, and in anticipation of a cut in U.S. monetary stimulus.
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Muralikumar