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BEIJING: China’s gold consumption fell 9.69% in the first quarter from the corresponding period a year earlier, the China Gold Association said on Wednesday, as rising prices and a March outbreak of COVID-19 hit demand.

The figure of 260.26 tonnes of gold was down from 288.2 tonnes in the first three months of 2021, the association said in a statement.

“Gold jewellery consumption remained robust in January-February, but that was shaken by rising prices and pandemic outbreak in some parts of the country in March,” it said on its website.

Spot gold posted its biggest quarterly jump in nearly two years, stoked by inflation concerns amid conflict between Russia and Ukraine. It had gained 3.8% so far this year.

China’s gold output in the period from January to March rose 12.04% on an annual basis to 83.401 tonnes, the association said. That rose from a lower base as major producers in the eastern province of Shandong and central Henan resumed production.

Shandong suspended some first-quarter output last year after two gold mine accidents.

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