China's demand for gold is set to rise by about 20 per cent over the next few years.
The announcement comes as China becomes the world's largest gold-consuming nation since last year, overtaking India. This estimate comes from the World Gold Council, as the population becomes wealthier. The council estimates private sector demand for gold in China will rise to at least 1350 tonnes by 2017.
BBC News reports that Chinese customers bought 1132 of gold last year, in jewellery as well as gold bars and coins for investment.
"China is at the centre of the global gold eco-system as rapid urbanisation creates a rising middle class," the World Gold Council.
"The cultural affinity for gold runs deep in China and when this is combined with an increasingly affluent population and a supportive government, there is significant room for the market to grown even further," claims Albert Cheng of the World Gold Council. "Whilst China faces important challenges as it seeks to sustain economic growth and liberalise its financial system, growth in personal incomes and the public's pool of savings should support a medium term increase in the demand for gold, in both jewellery and investment."
Consumers bought a record amount of gold last year according to the council, with China and India in the top spots. Western market demand for gold also remained strong particularly in the US, where people bought a considerable amount of gold jewellery as well as gold bars and coins.