Gold imports into mainland China from Hong Kong surged 94 percent to an all-time high last year as rising incomes in the world’s second-largest economy underpinned increased demand and helped the metal to post a 12th annual gain.
Mainland China imported 834,502 kilograms (834.5 metric tons), including scrap and coins, compared with about 431,215 kilograms in 2011, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department. Imports in December rose to a monthly record of 114,405 kilograms, according to data from the department yesterday.
China was expected to displace India as the world’s biggest gold consumer last year, according to a forecast in November from the producer-funded World Gold Council. Rising consumption in the country may help to offset concern that the metal’s bull run may be coming to an end as the global economy recovers. Spot gold is little changed so far this year, while the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of raw materials has risen 4.4 percent.
The increase in gold imports last year “was largely a result of income growth,” Jiang Shu, a senior analyst at Industrial Bank Co. Ltd., said from Shanghai before the data was released. “The Chinese are becoming more wealthy.”
Economic growth in China, the world’s largest gold producer, has boosted the country’s consumption of everything from copper to energy and farm commodities. The nation, which snapped a seven-quarter slowdown in the final quarter of last year, is the world’s largest base-metals user, the biggest importer of soybeans and the top crude-oil consumer after the U.S.
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