Gold’s biggest slump in three decades has been a boon for MKS (Switzerland) SA’s PAMP refinery near the Italian border in Castel San Pietro, whose bullion sales to China surged to a record as demand rose for coins, bars and jewelry.
Gold demand in China, the second- largest user after India last year, may expand 13 percent to 870 metric tons in 2012, the World Gold Council said, dropping a forecast for consumption to reach as much as 1,000 tons.
Gold demand in China may surge as much as 30 percent this year as rising incomes boost consumption, helping the country topple India as the world’s largest bullion market on an annual basis, according to the World Gold Council.
China’s gold imports jumped almost fivefold in the first 10 months from the entire amount shipped in last year as concern about rising inflation increased its appeal as a store of value, said the Shanghai Gold Exchange.
China’s investment gold demand may reach 150 metric tons this year, up from 105 tons last year, Albert Cheng, managing director of the World Gold Council’s Far East department, told a conference in Shanghai today. That’s an even larger increase when compared with the 3-4 tons 10 years ago, Cheng said.
Gold imports by China may increase after investment demand more than doubled in the first quarter, with the country overtaking India to become the largest market for gold coins and bars, the World Gold Council said.