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International gold prices have surged about 35 percent since November 2008. [Yuan Zhou/China Daily] 

The surging prices of the yellow metal globally have triggered demand for gold-related shares on the A-share market.

Leading gold mining shares including Shandong Gold Mining Co Ltd, Zhongjin Gold Corp, Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd, and new entrant Shandong Tyan Home Co Ltd rose sharply after gold prices breached the $1,000 per ounce mark in early September.

While gold prices at the New York Commodity Exchange have surged around 35 percent since November 2008, the Shenwan Gold Index, the gauge of a basket of gold producing companies on the A-share market, has jumped by as much as 150 percent, and surpassed 200 percent at its peak, according to statistics from Wind Info.

As inflation fears and a weaker dollar continue to propel gold demand and peg the prices at the over $1,000 per ounce mark on international markets, more and more analysts have started taking an optimistic stance on the earnings of yellow metal producers.

"Chinese gold miners such as Shandong Gold Mining and Zhongjin Gold Corp will benefit from this round of price surges," China Minzu Securities said in a recent report.

Ma Qianqi, analyst, Central China Securities, said apart from the price surge on the international markets, the Chinese market is also expected to witness larger demand as traditional holidays such as the National Day Holiday is round the corner and would be followed by the Spring Festival.

The week-long national holiday, which is traditionally a peak time for young couples to hold wedding ceremonies, is expected to push domestic demand for gold jewelry to a new high.

"The demand from gold jewelry makers will continue to propel gold prices," Ma said.

In fact, most of the jewelry dealers have already increased gold prices. Beijing-based Caishikou Department Store, the largest gold jewelry retailer in the capital, increased gold prices by 6-7 yuan for each gram on Sept 15.

International gold prices have broken the $1,000 an ounce mark three times in the past with the last such instance on March 17, 2008, when it touched $1,030.80 per ounce.

Gold was quoted at $1,005.85 an ounce yesterday, within sight of a record high set on March 17 of last year.

Many analysts see international gold price rising further. Gold price could rise above $1,110 an ounce in 2010 as central banks diversify their reserves into gold due to a faltering dollar, economist Martin Murenbeeld at Dundee Wealth Economics told the Denver Gold Forum on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

"I believe the gold price will rise to $1,200 per ounce within the next six months," Qin Weihuan, a researcher at China Gold Association, told China Daily.

"In the past, gold prices dropped back after it hit over $1,000 per ounce. But I believe this time the price has really breached the $1,000 ceiling and will stay at these levels for some time."

Qin said gold prices have entered a new "era" as inflation fears and uncertainty over the world economy will prompt investors to look for safe havens in bullion.

On the liquidity side, Qin said he believes that international buyers have already made most of the rally by buying the yellow metal.

The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gold Trust, said its holdings stood at 1,078.851 tons as of Sept 15.

But there are pessimistic opinions too.

Fan Haibo, analyst with China Cinda Securities, said he doubts whether gold prices would stay at over $1,000 per ounce.

"There is still great possibility of deflation as the world economy is still full of uncertainties. I do not think there any strong support factors for a further rise in gold prices."

(China Daily September 23, 2009)

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