Gold consumption in China, the world’s largest user after India, jumped 54 percent in the first half of 2013, putting the country on track to become the top bullion consumer at a time when demand is contracting elsewhere.
Consumption reached 706.36 metric tons in the first six months, the China Gold Association said today in an e-mailed report. Gold-bar purchases surged 87 percent to 278.81 tons, while jewelry gained 44 percent to 383.86 tons, it said. Demand accelerated from growth of 26 percent in the first quarter, according to data from the association, which is funded by miners, refiners, retailers and jewelry makers.
Gold is heading for its worst year in three decades as some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value and amid speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve will curb debt-buying. India doubled a tax on inbound shipments and curbed financing to tackle a surge in demand after the metal entered a bear market in April. China is the world’s largest gold producer.