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Asian gold demand rebounding as Swiss exports to India surge

    LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) - Switzerland in February sent
gold to mainland China for the first time since September and
shipments to India and Thailand rose to multi-year highs,
suggesting that demand for bullion in Asia is recovering from
the coronavirus shock. 
    Switzerland is the world's biggest gold refining centre and
transit hub, while India and China are the two biggest gold
consumers and Thailand is a regional trade hub. 
    Demand from all three Asian countries plunged last year as
the coronavirus spread and has been slowest to recover in China.

    
    
    One reason for the pick-up is a steady decline in gold
prices from record highs last August. Most gold in Asia
is sold as jewellery and buyers are put off by high prices.   
    Swiss customs data showed that in February Switzerland
exported 56.5 tonnes of gold to India, 11.2 tonnes to Thailand,
2 tonnes to mainland China and 1 tonne to Hong Kong. 
    That is biggest total to India for any month since April
2019, to Thailand since August 2018 and to Hong Kong since
September. It is the first shipment of any gold at all to China
since September. 
    Following are numbers for February and comparisons. 
            
    SWISS TRADE DATA (KG)         
          EXPORT (kg)
  Feb-21      102,850
  Jan-21       82,033
  Feb-20       42,759
           To China   To Hong    To India   To the     To
                      Kong                  U.S.       Britain
   Feb-21      2,000      1,045     56,472     12,031         77
   Jan-21          0         28     38,696     16,666      5,216
   Feb-20      2,000         10      9,591        361      9,256
    * Source: Swiss customs. Data subject to revision by source.
    
    

    
 (Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
  
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