China imported five times more gold this year than last year, putting the country on track to overtake India as the world’s largest consumer of gold, the Financial Times reported. Beijing announced on Thursday that the country’s gold imports grew to more than 209 tonnes during the first 10 months of 2010 compared with an estimated 45 tonnes in the same period last year. The ramped-up demand in China – already the largest bullion miner – means the country is becoming a signifcant force in global gold prices. Analysts said uncertainties about the Chinese and global economies, as well as inflationary expectations, have "made gold, as a hedging tool, very popular." The market boom has also sparked a wave of gold scams in Hong Kong.
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