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Beijing (AFP) Feb 11, 2014
China's gold consumption soared 41.36 percent in 2013, industry data showed, with state media reporting Tuesday the country has probably overtaken India as the world's largest consumer of the precious metal.
Last year, China consumed 1,176.4 tonnes of the yellow metal, the China Gold Association said in a statement.
The surge in demand was partly led by frenzied purchases by "middle-aged" "bargain-hunting" Chinese women who bucked the international market trend of falling prices to get cheap deals, the official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.
In the first three quarters of 2013, China's demand for gold totalled 779.6 tonnes, compared with India's 714.7 tonnes, according to figures previously released by the World Gold Council.
The British-based WGC usually publishes its full-year Gold Demand Trends report in February.
Demand for jewellery and bullion made up the lion's share of China's consumption last year, rising 42.52 percent and 56.57 percent respectively to 716.5 tonnes and 375.7 tonnes, the CGA figures showed.
Analysts expect sales of gold bars and jewellery to keep rising in the next three to five years on the back of increasing Chinese incomes, Xinhua said.
But overall gold consumption may slow this year due to a weak market outlook, it added.
In 2012, consumption rose only around 10 percent, the report said.
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