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China sees 20% rise in gold desire

(Shanghai Daily)

09:57, May 17, 2013

Gold accessories are on sale in Caibai, one of best-known gold retailers in Beijing, China, May 2, 2013. (Xinhua/Li Xin)

China's gold demand rose 20 percent from a year earlier to a record high of 294.3 tons in the first quarter of this year, the World Gold Council said in a report yesterday.

The boost was driven by sales of jewelry, bars and coins, the WGC said, adding that demand for gold jewelry climbed 19 percent year on year to 185 tons in China, posting a new record quarterly high due to purchases during the Chinese New Year.

Quarterly investment in bars and coins surged to a new record of 109.5 tons in the country, compared with a five-year quarterly average of 43.8 tons.

"Chinese investors were discouraged by the weak domestic stock market and increasingly relied on gold to fulfill their investment needs," the WGC said. "The announcement in February of impending controls to be placed on the property market further boosted gold's investment prospects going forward."

The average gold price of US$1,632 per ounce in the first three months fell 5 percent from that in the fourth quarter of last year, and off 3 percent from the same period a year ago.

China was the world's sixth-biggest holder of gold reserves with 1,054 tons at the end of March, the report said.

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