KITCO NEWS (Vienna, Austria) — China is a game maker and changer when it comes to the gold market, and will provide a solid base for a gold rally, says Frederic Panizzutti, global head of sales for MKS PAMP, a swiss-based precious metals firm. Besides being the biggest importer of the metal, Panizzutti said the metal that is being imported into China is not moving any time soon. 'One thing that is not discussed enough is that most of the gold that is shifting from the West to the East will not leave China for the foreseable future. So basically, China is absorbing gold from all the centers,' he said in an interview with Kitco News during the London Bullion Association's (LBMA) annual event, this year being held in Vienna. 'Over the medium to long term, China is playing a more important role than just absorbing the metal because it will be kept back, so it is providing the market with a very solid base for a long term bull trend,' he explained. As for a near-term outlook for gold, Panizzutti said the metal is in a more or less narrow range. 'We can finish the year somewhere between $1,220-$1,280, then it would be a good recovery already and set a good frame for next year.' December gold futures were last quoted down at $1,176.10 an ounce.