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China’s Gold Heating Up on Property Riches

China’s growing throng of affluent consumers is driving a rebound in demand for gold rings, bracelets and necklaces as a property boom and high stock market valuations boost wealth in the largest bullion market.

The nation’s demand for gold jewellery climbed 10 percent last year to almost 700 metric tons as the wealthy increased purchases and consumption improved in second and third-tier cities, according to the China Gold Association. Buying of ornaments represented more than 60 percent of the 1,090 tons of gold consumed in China last year and made up a third of world jewellery demand.

Rising demand in China could help boost global prices because of the size of the market. Gold in London advanced to the highest since 2016 last month as inflation fears and dollar weakness fuelled demand. Holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded funds are up about 40 percent in the past two years and increased to the largest stash since 2013 in January.

While gold has slid about 3 percent from last month’s peak to $1,328 an ounce, a succession of higher highs and higher lows on the charts since the start of last year has encouraged bulls. Chinese buying of gifts for Lunar New Year also traditionally supports prices in January and February.

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