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Crisis set to bite into gold sales in China

THE volume of gold sales in China is expected to be stagnant this year due to the spill-over of the financial crisis, said a senior manager at the World Gold Council yesterday in Shanghai.

"We expect the total sales volume in China to be the same as that of 2008, without posting growth, due to the spill-over of the financial crisis," Albert Cheng, managing director of the World Gold Council Far East, told Shanghai Daily yesterday. "China is a strong market for gold as demand is still there but the appetite in markets like the United States is dropping."

Buying of gold jewelry, coins and bars in China, including the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong, totaled 432.1 tons last year, an 18-percent rise from the previous year, the council said earlier.

The annual increase in tonnage, or 67 tons, last year easily exceeded that of any other country. The next closest were Vietnam and Thailand which both posted a rise of about 38 tons.

The council yesterday teamed up with Fiera Di Vicenza to launch a campaign to boost sales of K-gold, or 18-carat, jewelry in China. Italian designers are making more jewelry targeting Chinese consumers, said Domenico Girardi, managing director of Fiera Di Vicenza, yesterday in Shanghai.

In China, sales of 18-carat gold account for 16 percent of the total gold jewelry sales, with the rest dominated by the traditional 24-carat, or 99.9 percent pure, gold jewelry.

China is the world's second-biggest gold consumer after India and is also the world's biggest gold producer.


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