UPDATE 1-China’s gold consumption to cool after surge this year -producer – by Judy Hua and David Stanway (Reuters India – November 4, 2013)


TIANJIN, China, Nov 4 (Reuters) – China’s gold consumption is expected to climb to more than 1,000 tonnes this year, though the trend is not sustainable and could drop below this level from 2014, the country’s biggest gold producer said on Monday.

Meanwhile, gold output this year from China, the world’s top producer, is set to climb about 7 percent to another record high of 430 tonnes, Du Haiqing, vice general manager at China Gold Group Corp, said at an industry conference held in the northern city of Tianjin.

Gold demand from China has surged by more than half in the first six months of the year as sliding prices of the precious metal lured buyers, reinforcing expectations that China will overtake India as the top consumer this year.

Gold consumption in 2012 was 832.18 tonnes, according to data from the China Gold Association. Demand growth has dramatically outpaced production, causing imports from Hong Kong to surge and hover at more than 100 tonnes for five straight months up to September.

But this year’s consumption was “abnormal”, as a sharp drop in prices in April has sparked a buying frenzy, said Du.

“Consumption will gradually cool down. The current consumption level of over 1,000 tonnes will not be sustained and will fall to normal levels as consumers become more rational.”

Du forecast China’s gold production would hit 430 tonnes this year, compared with 403 tonnes in 2012.

China’s net gold imports from Hong Kong have totalled about 855 tonnes for the first nine months. The high import figure, which is well ahead of a supply deficit of at least 570 tonnes, could be due to purchases by the central bank, analysts said.

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