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Demand for Gold in China to double within 10 years

May 23 2010
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PRESS RELEASE
29 March, 2010
DEMAND FOR GOLD IN CHINA TO DOUBLE WITHIN TEN YEARS
Latest World Gold Council analysis suggests medium term outlook for Chinese gold mining supply will be challenging
Chinese gold demand growth expected to outstrip domestic supply

Beijing/London/New York: Chinese demand for gold is set to double in tonnage terms within just ten years according to the latest World Gold Council (WGC) analysis. Chinese gold consumption was worth more than US$14billion in 20091, which is equivalent to 11% of global gold demand. Launched today, Gold in the Year of the Tiger provides an outlook for all aspects of gold’s supply and demand fundamentals in China.
Marcus Grubb, Managing Director, Investment at WGC, said: “The excitement generated by the Chinese economic growth story is not new. However, clarifying the impact of China’s GDP growth trajectory on the outlook for the Chinese gold market has been elusive
– until today.
“Now one of the world’s largest economies, China has already rapidly become a prominent gold market. However, our analysis confirms that significant untapped growth potential exists in the Chinese gold market. In China, if gold demand continues to accelerate and becomes more comparable with other major markets, WGC expects it to double in tonnage terms within the next decade, which would represent annual gold demand of approximately US$29 billion at year end 2009 average prices.”
Over the past five years, demand for gold has increased at an average rate of 13% per annum in China.
WGC’s key findings were:

Chinese consumption intensity lags other major markets substantially. If gold were consumed in China at the same per capita rate as in India, Hong Kong or Saudi Arabia, annual Chinese demand could increase by 100 to 4,000 tonnes in the jewellery sector alone.

Total gold investment demand in China has grown in line with the country’s GDP and population during this period and WGC expects this trend to continue going forward.

While China is the world’s sixth largest official holder of gold, its gold reserves currently account for less than 2% of total reserves and, therefore, remain low by international standards. Even adding 10% from its current level would translate to an additional 100 tonnes of gold offtake.

While gold demand is accelerating, WGC expects Chinese supply growth to be challenging in the medium to long term; and is likely to decline in the future.

During the last decade, Chinese gold mining producers have stepped up gold production by 84%, however its known reserves account for just 4% of total known global gold reserves3. Assuming these figures are correct, WGC estimates suggest that China could exhaust its known gold mining reserves in six years from now.

This supply trend is only likely to reverse if China, which is still relatively undiscovered in terms of global exploration budgets, were to attract significant capital investment for exploration.

Eily Ong, Investment Research Manager at WGC and author of the report, said: “Our analysis confirms the potential for an increasing imbalance in supply and demand in China. Gold demand has already outpaced Chinese production growth since 1992, even before the
deregulation of private ownership a decade later. However, our analysis shows that if gold demand were to continue to increase so markedly, domestic supply would be unable to keep pace. Whatever the outcome, China’s outlook will almost certainly have implications for the global gold market.”

12:37 PM

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