Modern Asian Studies


The Hong Kong Gold Market and the Southeast Asian Gold Trade in the 1950s

Catherine R. Schenka1

a1 Royal Holloway & Bedford New College


In the 1950s Hong Kong was the centre of the Southeast Asian gold trade due to its traditional facilities as an entrepot. In the postwar period, however, this trade took place illegally, which distorted the direction of the trade. This article surveys the British attitude to the gold market in the immediate postwar period, using archival records from the British Treasury and the Bank of England. The changing pattern of the gold trade between the major centres of Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand is then described. The gold market offers an almost unique view of the pattern of smuggling trade in the region due to detailed reports in the local press and investigations at the time by the Bank of England.