Consumer demand for gold in the Chinese mainland increased 12.8 per cent last year from 2003 when the growth was only 1.7 per cent, according to the World Gold Council (WGC). The mainland's consumer demand for gold was 234 tonnes in 2004, up from 207.4 tonnes in 2003, according a report from the WGC.
Gold demand as retail investment in the mainland surged 53.1 per cent to 9.8 tonnes last year from 2003, according to the WGC.
China is the fourth gold consumer after Inda, the United States and Turkey.
The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) permited the marketing of investment gold products by commercial banks at the end of 2004. In the past, Chinese individuals were forbidden to own gold bullion.
China's three major State-owned commercial banks have been approved by the CBRC to conduct gold retail investment businesses.
With several other banks finding ways to do the businesses prior to the CBRC's nod, gold retail investment demand in the mainland increased to 4 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2004 from 1.7 tonnes in the third quarter.
The Shanghai gold exchange was launched in 2002 and now has 108 trading members, including commercial banks, gold producers and processors in the mainland. 665.3 tonnes of gold was traded in 2004, up 41.35 per cent from the previous year.
Source: China View