Article written by Prieur du Plessis, editor of the Investment Postcards from Cape Town blog.
The World Gold Council has just published the latest issue of “Gold Demand Trends” (Q1 2011). This is a rather bullish report, concluding: “The outlook for global gold demand remains robust throughout 2011against a background of another strong quarter, the geographic and sectoral diversity of demand and strong fundamentals.”
The report summarized the demand trends as follows:
- Global gold demand in the first quarter of 2011 totalled 981.3 tonnes, up 11% year-on-year from 881.0 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010. In value terms, this translated to US$43.7bn, compared with US$31.4bn in the first quarter of 2010, an increase of almost 40%. This was largely attributable to a widespread rise in demand for bars and coins, supported by an improvement in jewellery demand in key markets.
- The quarterly average gold price hit a new record of US$1,386.27/oz (London PM Fix), its eighth consecutive year-on-year increase. Despite a period of price consolidation in the early part of the quarter, it climbed to record highs throughout March and has continued to achieve new highs in April and May.
- During the first quarter of the year, investment demand grew by 26% to 310.5 tonnes from 245.6 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010. In value terms, investment demand was US$13.8bn. The main growth came from bar and coin demand which increased by 52% year-on-year, to 366.4 tonnes. In value terms, this represented a near-doubling of demand to US$16.3bn from US$8.6bn in Q1 2010.
- ETFs and similar products witnessed net outflows of 56 tonnes ($2.5bn). Redemptions were concentrated in January. Despite the outflows, the collective volume of gold held by global ETFs by the end of the quarter was in excess of 2,100 tonnes equating to more than $95bn.
- Jewellery demand in the first quarter of 2011 registered a gain of 7% from year earlier levels of 521.3 tonnes to reach 556.9 tonnes. This equated to a record quarterly value of US$24.8bn. India and China, the two largest markets for gold jewellery, together accounted for 349.1 tonnes or 63% of the total, a value of US$16bn. China’s jewellery demand reached a new quarterly record of 142.9 tonnes ($6.4bn) up 21% from 118.2 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010.
- Technology demand remained steady in the first quarter at 113.8 tonnes ($5.1bn). A revision to the fourth quarter figures now means that 2010 was the highest year on record for gold demand in electronics at 326.8 tonnes or $12.9bn.
- In Q1 2011, gold supply declined by 4% year-on-year to 872.2 tonnes from 912.1 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010. This decline was due to a sharp increase in net purchasing by the official sector and a fall in the supply of recycled gold, which was down 6% on year-earlier levels to 347.5 tonnes from 369.3 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010. Mine production increased by 44 tonnes year-on-year, a growth rate of 7% from year earlier levels, with negligible net producer de-hedging.
- Central bank purchases jumped to 129 tonnes in the quarter, exceeding the combined total of net purchases during the first three quarters of 2010.
The World Gold Council expects gold to be driven by the following factors during the rest of 2011.
- Prevailing global socio-economic conditions will continue to drive investment demand for gold. These include: continued uncertainty over the US economy and the dollar, ongoing European sovereign debt concerns, global inflationary pressures and continued tensions in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Sustained momentum in Chinese and Indian jewellery demand will underpin growth in the jewellery sector throughout 2011. Strong demand in India during the recent Akshaya Tritiya festival and the beginning of the wedding season, alongside extensive purchasing on dips in the gold price, underlines the strength of the Indian market.
- Net purchasing by the official sector is expected to continue in 2011 as central banks turn to gold as a means of diversifying their reserves into an asset with no credit or counterparty risk.
Source: World Gold Council, 19 May 2011.
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Gold bullion demand trends – bullish! was first posted on May 20, 2011 at 8:20 am.
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