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November 21, 2009

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Gold demand sparkles in Q3

CHINA'S retail demand for gold rose to a record high in the third quarter on a stronger economic growth, an industry report said.

The outlook for the fourth quarter depends largely on gold prices. If gold prices remained at the all-time high of US$1,153.40 an ounce, demand may weaken. Gold kept its surging momentum, trading around US$1,140 an ounce yesterday.

Consumer demand for gold soared 10 percent from a year ago to 128.6 tons in the third quarter of this year in China, including the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the World Gold Council said, citing data from GFMS, a precious metals consultancy.

Demand for retail gold jewelry rose 7 percent to 99.5 tons while retail investment demand in gold bars and coins gained 23 percent to reach a record high of 29 tons in the third quarter.

"The quarter's strong result was driven solely by a rise in consumer demand on the mainland," the WGC said. "Consumers in Hong Kong and Taiwan were deterred by the soaring gold prices in September, with Taiwan's weaker economic scenario further discouraging domestic demand."

The demand for gold on the mainland rose 12 percent to 120.2 tons even as the gold price surged during the quarter.

The mainland's faster-than-expected economic growth of 8.9 percent in the July-September period supported a strong retail gold demand, the WGC said.

The 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China also provided an ideal opportunity for many consumers to buy both jewelry and commemorative retail investment items.

"Retail demand is likely to weaken in the fourth quarter, particularly as jewelry retailers may be reluctant to build up stocks at higher prices as they get ready for the year-end," the WGC said.

However, the fourth quarter wedding season traditionally is a high point in demand for both jewelry and investment gold products.


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