The United States, of course, ships dollars and bonds back across the Pacific, rather than silver or Gold bullion. But are Dollar bills and Treasuries what China really wants, anymore than it wanted 1,200 tonnes of dope in 1839...? ... Funnily enough, the Chinese would still rather buy and hold precious metals apparently. China's retail investment demand for Gold rose 63% during the first quarter of 2008, reports the GFMS consultancy, amounting to 15.1 tonnes. Gold jewelry sales grew by 9% –"one of the few examples of demand increasing over 2007 levels" during the global spike to $1,000 per ounce – reaching 86.6 tonnes.

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