The window into the Swiss gold sector is about to become a little less fogged up.
The Swiss government has approved a change in how data on gold trade is compiled in an effort to reduce abuses in the precious metals’ market.
Starting from Jan. 1, data on Switzerland’s gold imports and exports will be released monthly, broken down by country. That’s quite a departure from the current system, where Swiss gold trade data is released quarterly, with no information on where it’s coming from or going to.
The move was welcomed by gold-market watchers, who praised the extra transparency the data will offer.
“This is significant not so much for knowing the size of the trade, but in the level of detail it will provide about where gold is going to from Switzerland and where it’s coming from,” said Matthew Turner, a precious metals analyst at Macquarie.
Of particular interest is how much gold is heading to China—now the world’s top gold consumer, said Mr. Turner. China doesn’t publish data on its gold imports, making it difficult to pin-point exactly how much of the yellow metal is ending up there.
Switzerland is a major trading and refining hub for gold, and the data should shed new light on regional demand for the precious metal.
According to Swiss customs data, Switzerland imported 2,265 tons of gold in 2012 and exported 1,570 tons.
The seven-member Council said in a statement Friday the change is intended to comply with international standards “and thereby contribute to transparency in precious metals trading.”
There’s no doubt that greater transparency is positive for markets at the moment because generally there has been a bit of suspicion of financial markets since 2008.