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China becomes world’s top gold bug

According a recent piece of WSJ,

China's investment demand for gold more than doubled to 90.9 metric tons in the first three months of the year, outpacing India's modest rise to 85.6 tons, the World Gold Council said in its quarterly report on Thursday. China now accounts for 25% of gold investment demand, compared with India's 23%.

Historically, India has been the largest investment market for gold. In 2007, just before investing in gold began to take off globally, India's physical gold demand accounted for 61% of the world's total. China's was 9%. In terms of total consumer demand, which also included jewelry, India is still a bigger consumer of gold than China, taking in 291.8 tons in the first quarter, compared with China's 233.8 tons.

In developed countries, some investors have switched into physical gold holdings from ETFs. Demand in Germany and Switzerland both more than doubled, while the U.S. had a 54% jump to 22.5 tons during the quarter.

As the world's largest gold producer, China churned out 350.9 tons in 2010, but it wasn't enough to sate total demand— including bullion, jewelry and technology uses—of more than 700 tons, according to the gold council's report. As demand continues to outpace supply, analysts expect China to import more bullion.