China Set To Overtake India As Top Gold Market

Gold Sales Leapt 33.5 Percent In Hong Kong Last Year On Mainland Demand

Gold has been a popular investment option in China for centuries

Gold has been a popular investment option in China for centuries

A traditional investment and hedge against inflation, gold has been a popular investment option in China for centuries. According to the AP, China is poised to overtake India to become the world’s largest gold market, fueled by rising incomes and growing demand among an emerging middle class.

As the World Gold Council noted in a study this week, the amount of gold bought in China last year rose 20 percent year-over-year to 770 metric tons, putting it behind India’s 933 metric tons. However, the council pointed out that it’s “likely” that China will overtake India for the first time this year, with the former moving into the top spot on a quarterly basis, buying 190.9 metric tons of the yellow metal in the last three months of 2011, against 173 tons in India.

Already, growing demand in China has benefited companies working in the gold jewelry field, with China becoming the world’s largest market for gold jewelry in the second half of last year. By 2015, China will have become the world’s largest luxury market, surpassing long-time leader Japan, and the country’s appetite for gold bars, coins and other gold-backed products — as with most luxury categories — has been pushed by pragmatic concerns about rising inflation, a limited number of investment options, and a strengthening yuan.

As Albert Cheng, a managing director of the World Gold Council, told the AP this week, the poor performance of China’s stock and property markets has boosted the popularity of gold as an investment option as well.

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