NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

China

's buying gold no matter what the price.

Gold prices

were falling as profit taking and a stronger U.S. dollar led to another correction in prices. Gold delivery for December was sinking $6.40 to $1,134.80 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have traded as high as $1,146 still shy of its new record high of $1,153.

Global

investment demand

rose sequentially in the third quarter with higher prices but was down significantly from a year earlier with one exception: China.

Chinese consumer demand for gold rose 12% in the third quarter to a record high of 120 tons and retail investment demand rose 30% from a year ago to 26.8 tons. The

World Gold Council

reported that total global gold demand for the third quarter was $24.7 billion, up 15% from the second quarter, but down 34% from the third quarter in 2008.

Investors fled to gold a year ago when the global financial crisis peaked and investors looked to preserve their wealth in an alternative asset. For the past year, investment demand has been growing in the futures market leading to higher prices while slipping overall. Demand for gold

ETF

s, bars and coins fell 46% from a year ago to 227.2 tons.

Aram Shishmanian, CEO of World Gold Council, is optimistic. He says he expects investment demand will continue to improve "well supported by continued economic and currency uncertainty, inflation concerns and the search for diversification. In the official sector, we expect to see a continuing trend of central banks diversifying their dollar exposure in favor of the proven store of value represented by gold."

"I'm seeing small weakness this morning in the futures market. The dollar is a little stronger against most currencies", says Andrew Neale, portfolio manager for Fogel Neale Partners. The U.S.

dollar index

was higher by .59% to $75.50.

"It is inevitable that there is some profit taking after this run", says Neale. "We're actually looking at precious metals...I think there may be some switching out of gold into platinum, the platinum group metals. We see more value in platinum and palladium than in gold."

Platinum prices were currently slipping $17.00 to $1,435 while palladium was down $7.65 to $366.50.

Forget Gold, Buy Silver

Image placeholder title

In mining stocks,

Barrick Gold

(ABX)

was down almost 1.5% to $42.97 while

Newmont Mining

(NEM) - Get Report

was slipping 2.42% to $51.24.

Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold

(FCX) - Get Report

was also falling 2.24% to $82.79 and

Yamana Gold

(AUY) - Get Report

was down 2.05% to $12.88.Shares of

SPDR Gold Trust

(GLD) - Get Report

were relatively unchanged at $111.32. The

ETF

added 3.66 tons on Wednesday as gold prices broke $1,150.Shares of

Market Vectors Gold Miners

(GDX) - Get Report

were falling 3% to $49.57 while

Market Vectors Juniors

(GDXJ) - Get Report

was down almost 5% to $25.82.

Slideshow: How to Invest in Gold >>

--

Written by Alix Steel in New York

.

Alix joined TheStreet.com TV in February 2007. Previously, she held positions in film and theater production, management, and legal administration. Alix has a degree in communications and theater from Northwestern University.