World Gold Council: Consumer Demand Hit Record High in 2013
Demand for gold jewelry, bars and coins hit a record high last year, according to the World Gold Council's latest Gold Demand Trends report. The report also confirms that last year Chinese gold demand surpassed that of India for the first time.
2013 was a polarizing year for the gold market, the World Gold Council (WGC) states in its Gold Demand Trends report, released yesterday. On the one hand, consumer demand for the metal — which includes jewelry, small bars and coins — rose 21 percent, to a record high of 3,863.5 tonnes. That increase was largely caused by gold's drastic price drop in April, though buying continued throughout the year. However, the report notes that at the same time, improved "macro sentiment in the US" spurred western investors to sell off "more tactical ETF positions," bringing the year's total ETF outflows to 880.8 tonnes. The overall effect was that net full-year gold demand fell 15 percent from the 2012 total, to 3,756 tonnes. What were the report's other key findings? Here, Gold Investing News takes a look. Where did the gold go? The WGC notes in its report that gold supply in 2013 came to a total of 4,339.9 tonnes, down 2 percent from 2012, due to a drop in recycling activity. But what the organization is more concerned about is where all that gold went. As mentioned, gold jewelry, bars and coins were a big source of gold demand last year. In fact, "continuous growth" in the jewelry sector brought about "the largest volume increase" in jewelry demand since 1997; specifically, it rose to 2,209 tonnes, a 17-percent increase from 2012. Meanwhile, demand for gold bars and coins hit an all-time high of 1,654 tonnes in 2013, an impressive 28 percent higher than the 2012 amount. Of course, consumers were not the only source of gold demand. The WGC states that the technology sector consumed 405 tonnes of the precious metal last year, not far off from the 407 tonnes it used in 2012. In addition, central banks purchased a net 368.6 tonnes of gold, a 32-percent decrease from the previous year. The WGC describes that as a "healthy outcome" that is "in line with [its] widely discussed expectations."