China has reportedly overtaken the United States to become the second biggest market in the world for gold and gold jewelry, according to new figures from the Shanghai Gold Exchange.
A report from the Shanghai Gold Exchange showed sales of gold and gold products on the Chinese mainland reached a record high in 2007 at 316.49 trillion yuan (US$44.3 trillion). This was up 62.51% over 2006 and accounted for 326.1 tonnes of gold.
China has seen a boom in jewelry sales. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry recently reported a 43% rise in demand for luxury watches from China, the biggest increase in the world. The Chinese market for these items is now worth 577.6 million Swiss francs (US$540 million).
Earlier this year, China also became the world’s top gold producer, ending South Africa’s 102-year reign, according to figures from precious metals consultant GFMS.