Chinese consumers' insatiable longing for gold is set to provide a strong push for local mines, as the country’s demand for the precious metal is expected to surpass supply by at least 550 metric tons by 2015, data from China Gold Association showed Saturday.
According to the latest statistics released by the organization, the nation bought a total of 832.18 tons of gold, 71.13 tons, or 9.35% more than in 2012, reports Xinhua.
Gold jewellery imports increased 10.09% year on year to 502.75 tonnes, while those of gold bars and gold coins gained 12.22% and 21.63%, respectively, to 239.98 tonnes and 25.3 tonnes.
According to the World Gold Council latest figures, global demand for gold as an investment increased 2% in the fourth quarter, reaching 65.5 tons, with China’s import rising 24% in the same period.
Demand for the yellow metal in China has experimented a solid growth over the years to the point the nation is now the world's second-largest gold consumer after India.
China has also been the world's biggest producer of gold for six years since 2007, with an annul output of 403 tons in 2012, a year-on-year growth of almost 12%.
But a projected production increase is unlikely to meet rising demand, industry analysts quoted by CRI said.
"Imports of gold from other countries and regions will help fill the gap between gold demand and supply," Li Yang, a Shanghai-based gold investment analyst, was quote as saying.
Chinese demand is expected to be boosted further by the imminent launch of a gold-backed exchange traded fund in the country. Last year a ban on interbank gold trading also contributed to rising demand.
Chinese retail investors have flocked to gold because of a lack of other investment opportunities in the communist country.