China has overtaken India as the world’s largest gold consumer thanks to soaring purchases of jewelry, minted Panda coins and small gold bars.
According to the Thomson Reuters GFMS gold survey, the most widely followed report on the industry, Chinese demand reached 1,189.8 tons last year, a 32 percent year-on-year jump and a fivefold increase since 2003.
Its hungry factories and mushrooming cities had already made China the number one global consumer of industrial metals such as copper, aluminium and zinc.
The frenetic buying of gold in China, which led to a temporary shortage of physical stocks, was sparked by the 28 percent fall in the precious metal’s price last year, the worst performance in more than three decades.
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