Market Insights

“Mystery Whale” Gold Buyer Reveals Secret Stockpiling Mission

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An image of a mystery shadow person to represent the mysterious gold buyer

For three years, a “mystery whale” purchased massive amounts of gold in secret. 

Then, on December 7, 2022, the curtain pulled back…  

And the People’s Bank of China or PBOC stepped forward to reveal it was the one who made two massive, back-to-back gold buys: 32 tons in November 2022 and another 30 tons in December 2022. 

For many analysts, this delayed reveal was a familiar move. Because the PBOC has a documented history of buying gold bullion in secret for years at a stretch. And then announcing its ever-growing stockpile at “random” intervals.  

China’s previous disclosure happened in 2019. And that announcement came six years after the disclosure in 2015. 

The question is, why now? 

Some analysts think it may have been due to holiday demand from manufacturers and retailers. 


Others say they believe China wants to protect its assets from inflation. And protect its currency, the yuan, from devaluation. 

It’s possible. 

Since the announcement comes on the heels of US tariffs imposed during a four-year trade war with China… some analysts, including and Bloomberg, say it may also signal China’s desire to decouple its economy from the US dollar. 

Put another way: 

A move to shore up reserves with gold and not the dollar may be a warning shot across the bow to the US as a display of economic strength and independence. 

And that is a realistic probability. 

Especially when you look back at the political and economic context of China’s past reveals. 

In 2015, for example, China’s presence in global trade was rising. And the world took notice. But China’s yuan couldn’t match the US dollar’s strength and status as the world’s reserve currency.  

However, if the IMF were to add the yuan to its Special Drawing Rights basket of international reserve currencies… The PBOC knew that would propel China’s currency onto the global stage. 

To meet the IMF’s requirements, China had to show financial stability. And this may be the primary reason why China admitted it had increased its holdings in secret by 604 tons since 2009.  

Whether meeting the IMF’s requirements was China’s intent or not, the display of financial strength seems to have worked. Because the IMF agreed to grant Special Drawing Rights to the Chinese yuan effective October 1, 2016. 

True to form, China fell silent about its gold acquisitions until April 2018 — when Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia to order 70 tons of gold.  

And by December 2018, China began to report its gold stores on a monthly basis until October 2019. 

That marked the end of public updates — until now 

Now, analysts speculate China may be using its timed reports as a political and financial hedge against the US and the US dollar’s dominance.  

Nobody can say for sure… yet.  

But what we do know is this: 

In 2014, the Chairman of the China Gold Association, Song Xin, seemed to state China’s explicit mission in a letter to the PBOC: 

 “…we must raise our [official] gold holdings a great deal and do so with a solid plan. Step one should take us to the 4,000 tonnes mark, more than Germany and become number two in the world, next, we should increase step by step towards 8,500 tonnes, more than the US.”  

And it sure looks like China is following through on that mission.  

But a deeper agenda may be at play here… 

Some believe China may be planning to use gold to back its yuan… and create a global reserve currency strong enough to “dethrone” the US dollar.  

Whether that’s even a remote possibility is unclear, but… 

Regardless of the PBOC’s motives, those massive gold buys may affect global gold prices. Especially if the Fed stays less hawkish — which some analysts believe would weaken the US dollar. And this weakened dollar may boost the price of gold because gold historically tends to rise as the dollar drops. 

On a related note, we here at Gold Alliance cannot help but notice: 

China’s latest announcement arrived when the price of gold was hovering around $1,600. Since then, gold has risen to over $1,900 (at the time of this writing). 


Or shrewd timing? 

Only time will tell. 

But if China charges forward with its mission to stockpile more gold than anyone else on the globe… and tries to shift its economy away from the US dollar… it may spell opportunity for gold owners in the coming weeks and months.  


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