Japan’s interest in gold and silver is growing

According to trading data, Japan's interest in gold has been climbing every year. This interest could be a result of growing concern over Japan's economy and the continuing debasement of their currency. Something could soon become a important demand source in the market which would drive up prices.

February 7, 2012, 1:25 PM
Myra Saefong
Market Watch

Trading data shows that Japan’s interest in gold and silver has climbed year on year.

“Concerns about the Japanese economy and continuing debasement of the yen USDJPY +0.46% may be leading Japanese diversification into gold,” said Mark O’Byrne, executive director at GoldCore, noting that Japan had been “notably absent” in the gold market in recent years.

The “scale of domestic savings in Japan remains enormous,” he said. “This would be a new and potentially extremely important source of demand in the gold market, which could help contribute to much higher gold prices.”

Daily open interest in gold futures contracts averaged 124,352 contracts in 2011, up nearly 15% from 2010, according to data from the Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM). Silver futures saw daily open interest averaging 8,345 contracts last year, up 59.5% from a year earlier.

“While not explosive growth, it is meaningful when compared with steadily declining volumes in equity trading,” said Joshua Giordano, a spokesman for TOCOM.

On Tuesday, April gold GC2J +1.44% traded at $1,746.40 an ounce, up 1.3%, while March silver SI2H +1.50% added 1% to $34.09 an ounce.

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