China, the world's second-largest gold producer last year, is expected to surpass South Africa to be the world's top gold producer in 2008, an executive at the China Gold Association, an industry group, said on Wednesday.

The country's gold output will rise to 300 tonnes this year, Hou Huimin, the association's vice secretary general, told a conference held by the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

China's gold production is expected to reach 300 tonnes this year, Hou said in a speech. In 2007, China produced 270.5 tonnes of gold, just short of South Africa's 272 tonnes. (Reporting by Alfred Cang; Writing by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree)

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