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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gold Love Trade Driven By Jewellery Demand

Surprisingly, investment demand in 2010 declined two per cent as investment in gold ETFs dropped 45 per cent

This week, the World Gold Council (WGC) confirmed something we’d already suspected: 2010 was a remarkable year for gold. Overall demand grew by nine per cent to reach a 10-year high on increased jewelry demand, strong momentum in key Asian markets and a paradigm shift in the official sector, the WGC says.

Demand for jewellery was the biggest contributor to gold demand, accounting for 54 percent of the total. That’s a 17 per cent rise despite gold prices jumping 26 per cent in many currencies. Gold demand for technology increased 12 per cent. Surprisingly, investment demand declined two per cent as investment in gold ETFs dropped 45 per cent. Even with the drop, 2010 was the second-highest year on record in terms of investment demand.

India led the world in gold jewellery demand with more than 745 tons. China was a distant second at just under 400 tons and the U.S. third at 128 tons. While the pace of consumption has slowed in several countries, gold consumption for jewellery remains at elevated levels around the world.

The story behind the rise in demand is one you’ve heard from us before. The WGC’s data is validation that the love trade is firing on all cylinders.

Ignited by the Diwali Festival of Lights, Indian jewellery demand rose 47 per cent on a year-over-year basis during the fourth quarter of 2010. For the year, Indian jewellery demand rose 69 per cent to surpass peak levels set back in 1998.

Historically savvy gold buyers, India’s influx of buying implies an expectation that gold prices still have much higher to go. The WGC says that “Indian consumers appeared almost universally to expect that the local gold pricewas likely to continue rising.”

In Hong Kong, gold jewellery demand rose 26 per cent to hit a 10-year high, according to the WGC. In China, buyers didn’t shy away from record-high gold prices either. Purchases of gold jewellery accelerated 25 per cent during the fourth quarter leading into the Chinese New Year.

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