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特殊時期黃金市場大熱,這項非法活動也升溫

特殊時期黃金市場大熱,這項非法活動也升溫

Jeremy Kahn 2020年07月15日
黃金或許能拯救投資業績,別指望能拯救靈魂。

危機來臨,投資者紛紛涌向避風港。縱觀歷史來看,黃金一直都屬于最安全的避險資產。

即使在新冠疫情時期也不例外。自世界衛生組織3月12日宣布全球疫情蔓延以來,金價上漲14%至1820美元/盎司,創九年來新高。

人們不僅在大宗商品市場投資黃金合約,對實物金條的需求也非常強勁,以致全球黃金出現短缺。主要原因包括,人們恐慌性購買,對沖基金和富人們紛紛買金條藏在保險柜里,一些精煉廠熔煉金塊,再加上某些黃金常規運輸線路也因冠狀病毒暫時關閉。

然而,癡迷黃金的“金龜子們”請注意: 如果你覺得床墊下藏些閃閃發光的金子才能睡得安穩,可能會受到良心的譴責。越來越多的證據表明,對黃金的需求助長了非法貿易,有可能激化戰爭,也是迫使發展中國家工人在危險環境下謀生的元兇。

黃金戰爭

面臨淘金熱,黃金走私猖獗可能也就不足為奇。《華爾街日報》近日報道稱,剛果民主共和國東部戰區的小型手工金礦中,被非法走私到烏干達的黃金創下紀錄。聯合國估計每個月通過烏干達非法販運的黃金價值高達1億美元。

更令人驚訝的是:走私黃金究竟如何流入市場? 據《華爾街日報》報道,烏干達的走私黃金都有偽造文件和印章,主要利用飛機離開東非國家。運走黃金之前,飛機送來的都是人道主義救援物資和醫療用品,幫助當地民眾抗擊新冠疫情。

最近,烏干達恩德培市警方繳獲了迄今為止最大的一批非法走私剛果黃金: 重達93公斤,價值500萬美元。據聯合國估計,運出烏干達的黃金有95% 實際上并非來自當地。

剛果東部的戰爭加上新冠疫情影響,當地的小礦商不得不以更低的價格出售黃金,提升了走私的吸引力。據《華爾街日報》報道,盡管國際金價飆升,剛果金礦的價格卻下跌了40% 。這意味著走私集團從中賺取了更多利潤,而礦工們卻在生存線上苦苦掙扎。

人權組織發現,剛果東部許多礦山的工作條件十分惡劣,每年都有數十名工人死于礦難。

對黃金的爭奪也加劇了地區爭端,而當地本就飽受戰爭蹂躪。在過去20年間,當地戰亂不斷,許多武裝組織與剛果政府,以及各武裝組織之間也交戰頻繁。根據聯合國對剛果戰爭的統計,自3月份以來,新出現暴力沖突已經造成至少1300名平民死亡,約有600萬人流離失所,其中有120萬人來自黃金資源豐富的伊圖里省。

國際貿易

聯合國已經對剛果一些走私者實施制裁,并對黃金冶煉商、珠寶商和部分零配件經常使用微量黃金的電子產品制造商施壓,確保供應鏈中清除非法黃金和其他沖突礦產。為黃金冶煉廠提供認證的倫敦金銀市場協會也在設法扭轉形勢,限制戰區手工金礦或通過非法勞工采金。然而種種舉措并未阻止日益猖獗的非法黃金貿易。

腐敗潮也已經蔓延到烏干達以外的地區。走私的剛果黃金被運往迪拜,其中至少有部分黃金流入了印度。印度人喜歡把黃金用作婚禮珠寶,也喜歡用來對沖匯率波動的影響,正常情況下對實物黃金的需求量就很高,新冠疫情進一步提升了印度市場對黃金的需求。

本月早些時候,印度南部喀拉拉邦的海關官員在一批運往阿拉伯聯合酋長國駐首府特里凡得瑯領事館的一批衛生間設備中,發現了藏匿的約30公斤黃金。阿聯酋否認與此事有任何關聯,并表示已展開調查,最后將責任歸咎于一名曾為領事館工作的印度女子。

這起案件也已成為喀拉拉邦首席部長皮那來?比杰安的政治丑聞。其秘書與所謂的走私者有關聯的消息曝光后,有人要求比杰安辭職。與此同時,在印度的另一個邦——泰米爾納德邦,海關官員今年查獲走私黃金的數量是2019年的兩倍。官員們表示,從筆記本電腦到滑板再到菜刀,走私者為了藏匿黃金嘗試了各種工具。

印度寶石與珠寶國內委員會主席阿南塔?帕德馬納班表示,黃金價格居高不下吸引了很多人加入走私。但負責黃金營銷的世界黃金協會印度地區負責人索馬森達拉姆?普雷表示,由于新冠疫情影響,進出印度的航班減少,整體走私水平實際上有所下降。

在澳大利亞,西澳大利亞政府所有的著名黃金冶煉廠珀斯鑄幣廠也卷入了一起丑聞,主要因為部分黃金來源的問題。據澳大利亞報紙報道,珀斯鑄幣廠收購了名為 Golden Valley 的巴布亞新幾內亞公司的黃金,據稱該公司從雇傭童工的手工礦場購買黃金。政府官員已經下令調查。

黃金或許能拯救投資業績,別指望能拯救靈魂。(財富中文網)

譯者:梁宇

審校:夏林

危機來臨,投資者紛紛涌向避風港。縱觀歷史來看,黃金一直都屬于最安全的避險資產。

即使在新冠疫情時期也不例外。自世界衛生組織3月12日宣布全球疫情蔓延以來,金價上漲14%至1820美元/盎司,創九年來新高。

人們不僅在大宗商品市場投資黃金合約,對實物金條的需求也非常強勁,以致全球黃金出現短缺。主要原因包括,人們恐慌性購買,對沖基金和富人們紛紛買金條藏在保險柜里,一些精煉廠熔煉金塊,再加上某些黃金常規運輸線路也因冠狀病毒暫時關閉。

然而,癡迷黃金的“金龜子們”請注意: 如果你覺得床墊下藏些閃閃發光的金子才能睡得安穩,可能會受到良心的譴責。越來越多的證據表明,對黃金的需求助長了非法貿易,有可能激化戰爭,也是迫使發展中國家工人在危險環境下謀生的元兇。

黃金戰爭

面臨淘金熱,黃金走私猖獗可能也就不足為奇。《華爾街日報》近日報道稱,剛果民主共和國東部戰區的小型手工金礦中,被非法走私到烏干達的黃金創下紀錄。聯合國估計每個月通過烏干達非法販運的黃金價值高達1億美元。

更令人驚訝的是:走私黃金究竟如何流入市場? 據《華爾街日報》報道,烏干達的走私黃金都有偽造文件和印章,主要利用飛機離開東非國家。運走黃金之前,飛機送來的都是人道主義救援物資和醫療用品,幫助當地民眾抗擊新冠疫情。

最近,烏干達恩德培市警方繳獲了迄今為止最大的一批非法走私剛果黃金: 重達93公斤,價值500萬美元。據聯合國估計,運出烏干達的黃金有95% 實際上并非來自當地。

剛果東部的戰爭加上新冠疫情影響,當地的小礦商不得不以更低的價格出售黃金,提升了走私的吸引力。據《華爾街日報》報道,盡管國際金價飆升,剛果金礦的價格卻下跌了40% 。這意味著走私集團從中賺取了更多利潤,而礦工們卻在生存線上苦苦掙扎。

人權組織發現,剛果東部許多礦山的工作條件十分惡劣,每年都有數十名工人死于礦難。

對黃金的爭奪也加劇了地區爭端,而當地本就飽受戰爭蹂躪。在過去20年間,當地戰亂不斷,許多武裝組織與剛果政府,以及各武裝組織之間也交戰頻繁。根據聯合國對剛果戰爭的統計,自3月份以來,新出現暴力沖突已經造成至少1300名平民死亡,約有600萬人流離失所,其中有120萬人來自黃金資源豐富的伊圖里省。

國際貿易

聯合國已經對剛果一些走私者實施制裁,并對黃金冶煉商、珠寶商和部分零配件經常使用微量黃金的電子產品制造商施壓,確保供應鏈中清除非法黃金和其他沖突礦產。為黃金冶煉廠提供認證的倫敦金銀市場協會也在設法扭轉形勢,限制戰區手工金礦或通過非法勞工采金。然而種種舉措并未阻止日益猖獗的非法黃金貿易。

腐敗潮也已經蔓延到烏干達以外的地區。走私的剛果黃金被運往迪拜,其中至少有部分黃金流入了印度。印度人喜歡把黃金用作婚禮珠寶,也喜歡用來對沖匯率波動的影響,正常情況下對實物黃金的需求量就很高,新冠疫情進一步提升了印度市場對黃金的需求。

本月早些時候,印度南部喀拉拉邦的海關官員在一批運往阿拉伯聯合酋長國駐首府特里凡得瑯領事館的一批衛生間設備中,發現了藏匿的約30公斤黃金。阿聯酋否認與此事有任何關聯,并表示已展開調查,最后將責任歸咎于一名曾為領事館工作的印度女子。

這起案件也已成為喀拉拉邦首席部長皮那來?比杰安的政治丑聞。其秘書與所謂的走私者有關聯的消息曝光后,有人要求比杰安辭職。與此同時,在印度的另一個邦——泰米爾納德邦,海關官員今年查獲走私黃金的數量是2019年的兩倍。官員們表示,從筆記本電腦到滑板再到菜刀,走私者為了藏匿黃金嘗試了各種工具。

印度寶石與珠寶國內委員會主席阿南塔?帕德馬納班表示,黃金價格居高不下吸引了很多人加入走私。但負責黃金營銷的世界黃金協會印度地區負責人索馬森達拉姆?普雷表示,由于新冠疫情影響,進出印度的航班減少,整體走私水平實際上有所下降。

在澳大利亞,西澳大利亞政府所有的著名黃金冶煉廠珀斯鑄幣廠也卷入了一起丑聞,主要因為部分黃金來源的問題。據澳大利亞報紙報道,珀斯鑄幣廠收購了名為 Golden Valley 的巴布亞新幾內亞公司的黃金,據稱該公司從雇傭童工的手工礦場購買黃金。政府官員已經下令調查。

黃金或許能拯救投資業績,別指望能拯救靈魂。(財富中文網)

譯者:梁宇

審校:夏林

In a crisis, investors tend to flock to safe havens. And historically, the safest asset class has been gold.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception. Gold is up 14% since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic on March 12 and is now trading at $1,820 per ounce, a nine-year high.

Not only are people investing in gold contracts in the commodities market, but demand for the real McCoy—physical gold bars—has also been so strong that there’s a global shortage. That’s the result of panic-buying, with both hedge funds and wealthy individuals stashing bars in safety deposit boxes, as well as the fact that some of the refineries that smelt gold bullion and some of the normal routes for shipping gold bars around the world temporarily shut down because of the coronavirus.

But goldbugs beware: If you thought you’d sleep easier with a few lustrous bars tucked under the mattress, you might find your conscience bothering you. There’s growing evidence that demand for gold is stoking an illegal trade that helps fuel wars and contributes to unsafe working conditions in the developing world.

Conflict gold

In the midst of this gold rush, it’s perhaps unsurprising that gold smuggling is booming. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that record amounts of gold from small artisanal mines in the eastern war zones of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are being illegally smuggled into Uganda. The United Nations estimates $100 million worth of illicit gold is trafficked through Uganda each month.

More surprising is how that gold is getting to market: In Uganda, the Journal reported, gold is given counterfeit stamps and paperwork, and then shipped out on the very same aircraft that are being used to ferry humanitarian relief and medical supplies into the East African nation to help it deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police in Entebbe recently seized the largest shipment of illicit Congolese gold to date: 205 pounds, worth $5 million. And the U.N. estimates that 95% of the gold shipped out of the country doesn’t actually come from Uganda.

Smuggling has become particularly attractive because fighting in Eastern Congo, plus the coronavirus, has actually forced the small-scale miners operating there to sell gold more cheaply. The Journal reported that prices at the Congolese gold pits have fallen as much as 40%, even as the world price has soared. That means more money for those running the smuggling rings, while the miners themselves struggle.

Human rights groups have found deplorable working conditions in many Eastern Congolese mines, with scores of workers killed each year in accidents.

The scramble for gold is also helping to fuel conflict in the war-torn region, which has seen almost continual fighting over the past two decades, with numerous armed rebel groups at war with the Congolese government and one another. Renewed violence has left at least 1,300 civilians dead since March, according to the U.N. War in the Congo has displaced an estimated 6 million people, including 1.2 million in the gold-rich province of Ituri.

International trade

The U.N. has imposed sanctions on a number of Congolese smugglers and pressed gold smelters, jewelers, and electronics manufacturers, which often use small amounts of gold in components, to rid their supply chains of illicit gold and other conflict minerals. The London Bullion Market Association, which certifies gold smelters, has also sought to stem the tide of gold nuggets from artisanal mines in war zones or which use unethical labor practices. None of it has stemmed the booming illicit trade.

The waves of corruption spread far beyond Uganda. Smuggled Congolese gold has been shipped to Dubai. From there, at least some of it has made its way to India, where demand for physical gold—for use in wedding jewelry and as a hedge against currency fluctuations—is high even during normal times and has intensified during the pandemic.

Earlier this month, customs officials in India’s southern state of Kerala discovered 66 pounds of gold hidden inside a shipment of bathroom fittings that were addressed to the United Arab Emirates’ consulate in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram. The UAE has denied any involvement and says it has launched an investigation, pinning the blame on an Indian woman who formerly worked for the consulate.

The case has become a political scandal for Kerala’s chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, who has faced calls to resign after it emerged that his official secretary associated with the alleged smuggler. Meanwhile, in another Indian state, Tamil Nadu, customs officials have seized twice as much smuggled gold this year as in 2019. To try to conceal the gold, smugglers have used everything from laptops to skateboards to a meat cleaver, officials said.

The high price of gold has tempted many new players into smuggling, N. Anantha Padmanaban, the chairman of All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council, said. But Somasundaram PR, the India country director for the World Gold Council, the gold industry’s marketing arm, says that fewer flights into and out of India because of the coronavirus ought to actually reduce overall smuggling levels.

In Australia, a well-known gold smelter, the Perth Mint, which is owned by the government of Western Australia, has also been caught up in a scandal over the origin of some of the gold it produces. Australian newspapers have reported the smelter has accepted gold from a Papua New Guinea company called Golden Valley, which is known to buy gold from artisanal mines in that country that use child labor. Government officials have ordered an investigation.

Gold might save your portfolio. But don’t expect it to do much for your soul.

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