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World gold demand slid in 2012 as Indians buy less

HONG KONG (AP) -- An industry groups says global gold demand slipped last year on reduced buying in India, the world's biggest market.

Central banks and institutional investors stepped up their purchases of the precious metal last year but it wasn't enough to offset the decline, according to the World Gold Council.

The council said Thursday that 4,405.5 metric tons were sold in 2012. That's down 176.8 metric tons, or 4 percent, from 4,582.3 metric tons in 2011.

However, the value of gold sold last year rose to an all-time high of $236.4 billion. That's mainly because of the rising price for the yellow metal, which rose 6 percent to an average of $1,669 per ounce.

The council said gold buying in India fell 36 percent in the first half of 2012.