Gold imports into China rose to an all time high last year according to a Bloomberg report.
Driven by rising incomes, imports rose from 431.2 tonnes to a 834.5 tonnes according to data from the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong government.
Imports in December alone were 114,405 kilograms, a monthly record.
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.
Precious metal ETFs have been a massive success in North American and European markets and played a role in pushing gold to its 12th year of successive gains in 2012.
China – the world’s number one producer of gold – is also on track to displace India at the top of the gold table.
An import tax – along with a weak rupee – has led to a slump in demand in India, long the world’s number one consumer of gold.
In 2012, India’s gold imports are expected to be in the region of 800 tonnes worth over $40 billion, compared to 1,000 tonnes in 2011.
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