By Frank Holmes on Kitco.com:
The World Gold Council (WGC) released its quarterly "Gold Demand Trends" report last week and, as always, it was filled with fascinating data on the strength of the global gold market. Gold demand grew 11 percent to 981.3 tons during the first quarter of 2011, worth $43.7 billion at quarter-end's price levels.
The increase was driven by a significant rise in demand for gold as an investment, up 26 percent from a year ago, as emerging markets look to protect their assets from rising inflation. Demand for gold bars and coins was up 62 percent and 42 percent, respectively.
A slight pullback in prices during the middle of the quarter and "persistent high inflation levels" pushed China into position as the world's largest market for gold investment. Chinese citizens devoured nearly 91 tons of gold bars and coins, more than double the amount of a year ago.
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