India imported record amounts of gold in 2010 as a result of jewelry demand and expectations that the precious metal's value would continue gaining, according to the World Gold Council.
Bloomberg reports Indian purchases of gold totaled 918 metric tons, which trumped January's projections of 800 tons by Ajay Mitra, the council's managing director for India and the Middle East. India, the largest user of gold, saw a 69 percent increase in jewelry demand last year.
"India was the strongest growth market in 2010," according to a council report.
Just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, gold futures were up 0.63 percent, an $8.60 cent climb to $1,383.70 per troy ounce.
Bullion last year achieved its 10th straight year of annual gains, highlighted by notching its top value of $1,431.25 per troy ounce on December 7. Gold's value was helped by debt-hobbled banks in the euro zone.
"The rising price of gold, particularly in the latter half of the year, created a 'virtuous circle' of higher price expectations among Indian consumers, which fuelled purchases, thereby further driving up local prices," the report stated.
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