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Chinese consumers put faith in gold

CHINA'S retail demand for gold rose strongly in the fourth quarter against a weakening appetite in most countries across the globe.

Consumer demand for gold rose 3 percent from a year ago to 116.3 tons in the last quarter of 2009 in China, including the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the World Gold Council said today, citing data from GFMS, a precious metals consultancy.

In China, retail investment demand for bars and coins added 17 percent year on year in the quarter while jewelry was flat.

"In China, gold demand in the fourth quarter followed the pattern that had been established throughout 2009 -- solid gains from mainland partially offset by weaker appetite in both Hong Kong and Taiwan," said the gold advocate.

On the mainland, gold jewelry demand picked up strongly in December as the metal corrected from its high of more than US$1,200 an ounce. The ballooning prices slowed gold sales in the opening weeks of the fourth quarter.

In 2009, total consumer demand for gold in China grew 7 percent to 461.9 tons.

Gold prices in the Comex division in New York hovered around US$1,116 today.


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