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Chinese demand for gold bars climbs by half on hunt for havens

Sales climbed 51 per cent to 158.40 metric tonnes from a year earlier

Gulf News

Shanghai: Demand for gold bars in China, the world’s biggest bullion market, soared by more than half in the first six months of the year as investors sought a haven from financial and geopolitical risks.

Sales climbed 51 per cent to 158.40 metric tonnes from a year earlier, the China Gold Association said in a press statement sent via WeChat on Friday. Overall gold consumption climbed almost 10 per cent to 545.2 tonnes, including 330.8 tonnes for jewellery sales, while industrial demand and other uses increased 9 per cent.

Investor concerns earlier this year over the depreciation of Chinese currency and instability in the stock market, as well as worries about the slowdown in property prices, spurred demand for gold. Imports from Hong Kong climbed last month as gold retreated on the global market, according to data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department compiled by Bloomberg.

“Physical gold is playing an increasingly important role in Chinese residents’ investment portfolio,” the association said. “Gold is broadly favoured by investors as a store of wealth as global markets become more fragile, with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates and increasing geopolitical uncertainty.”

Demand for all of 2017 may exceed 1,000 tonnes, the highest level in four years, as bar sales surge, Zhang Yongtao, the association’s secretary-general, said in an interview in May. Domestic output, including production from imported feedstock, fell 6 per cent to 241.5 tonnes in the first half, amid more stringent environment rules and depletion of mine resources, the group said Friday.