"LONDON - The most recent figures from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology note that China, already the world's No. 1 gold miner since 2007, continued its dominance in world gold production with output rising last year by 5.89% to 360.95 tonnes. The most recent statistics also show that the country's gold mining sector continued to expand in January with a rise of about 3.69% from the same month a year ago, suggesting that we may well see further annual gold mine output growth in 2012.
"China's ever-increasing gold output though is still nowhere near the country's huge appetite for consuming gold which rose to perhaps some 800 tonnes in 2011, although such figures tend to be speculative in nature as the officially reported statistics may not show the true picture. There does seem to have been a fall-off in demand however at the end of last year and in the first two months of 2012 with official figures for imports through Hong Kong - the main import route - seeming to show a significant decline over the same period a year ago."