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Gold consumption: China to beat India in 2009

13 may 2009

A few years ago China overtook South Africa in gold production. And, now China may soon overtake India in gold consumption also. That is the new trend in China, which has seen a surge in gold buying in 2008.
According to World Gold Council data, China’s demand for gold for investment has tripled in 2008 and could rise further this year.
However,  gold buying in India crashed due to the soaring prices. Even during the marriage season, people were not buying gold, in India as the prices were very high.
China has been the world’s second-largest gold consumer after India till now. But if the present trend in China continues, it may leave India far behind soon. China consumed 395.6 tonnes of bullion in 2008 for jewellery and investment, or around 14 per cent of global demand, up from 327.8 tonnes in 2007.
Investment demand in China jumped to 68.9 tonnes last year from 25.6 tonnes in 2007. India’s total bullion consumption dropped 14 per cent to 660.2 tonnes in 2008, of which net retail investment slipped to 190.5 tonnes from 217.5 tonnes in 2007.
Investment demand will remain robust in China because people are looking for an investment tool that they easily understand.
In terms of jewellery demand, the 24-carat jewellery demand is going very strong in China.
An increase in investment helped offset declines in demand for jewellery in some countries in Asia and the Middle East such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Gold rallied to its strongest in seven months at $985.95 an ounce on Thursday.
Gold has gone up as much as 12 per cent this year, which also curbed demand in price-sensitive India during the festive seasons.
The outlook for Q1 2009 depends to some extent on the gold price. The rise to $900 an ounce during January brought new record highs in rupee terms, said World Gold Council.
WGC added that the combination of gold’s safe haven appeal and extreme uncertainty surrounding other asset classes should see consumers continue to take advantage of any dips in the price — the investment motive to buy gold in the region remains strong.
Chinese gold production rose in 2008 by 11.5 tonnes (4.26 per cent) to 282 tonnes.
China Gold Association stated that the country continued to be the world’s largest gold miner last year and increased production compared with 2007 to 282.007 tonnes.
According to the association’s data, 46.4 per cent of the gold produced was generated by the provinces of Shandong, Jiangxi and Henan.
The country remained the largest gold producer in the world, having overtaken South Africa in 2007 with output of 270.49 tonnes.
Gold trading volumes on the Shanghai Gold Exchange rose in 2008 by 174.84 per cent year-on-year to 868.39 billion yuan.
Official figures indicated that 246 tonnes of gold had been mined in the country over the first 11 months of 2008, an increase over the year of 2.14 per cent.
The provinces of Shandong, Jiangxi and Henan accounted for 46.4 per cent of the total. China overtook South Africa to become the world’s largest gold producer in 2007, with 270.49 tonnes of gold output that year.
In 2006, Chinese mines produced 240 tonnes of gold, about 10% of global production, and up from 224 tonnes in 2005.
Output was just 11 tonnes behind Australia, the world’s third largest gold producer. So far this year, gold output is up 13.10% from last year, and reports indicate steady growth over then next five years.

Yekaterina Davydova, Rough&Polished Asian Bureau Editor in Beijing