Jewelry drives up demand for gold
2010 saw a 10-year high for increased demand for gold jewelry.
This week, the World Gold Council (WGC) confirmed something we’d already suspected: 2010 was a remarkable year for gold. Overall demand grew by 9 percent 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.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Demand for jewelry was the biggest contributor to gold demand, accounting for 54 percent of the total. That’s a 17 percent rise despite gold prices jumping 26 percent in many currencies. Gold demand for technology increased 12 percent. Surprisingly, investment demand declined 2 percent as investment in gold ETFs dropped 45 percent. Even with the drop, 2010 was the second-highest year on record in terms of investment demand.
India led the world in gold jewelry 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 jewelry 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 jewelry demand rose 47 percent on a year-over-year basis during the fourth quarter of 2010. For the year, Indian jewelry demand rose 69 percent 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 price was likely to continue rising.”
In Hong Kong, gold jewelry demand rose 26 percent 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 jewelry accelerated 25 percent during the fourth quarter leading into the Chinese New Year.
The love trade is significant and unique to gold. People buy gold out of love and those in emerging markets are especially amorous of the metal. In fact, the four strongest markets for gold jewelry demand (India, Hong Kong, China and Russia) accounted for 60 percent of the entire jewelry market in 2010.
The rise in Chinese gold demand goes hand-in-hand with a rise in average incomes for Chinese citizens. Last year, 20 million migrant workers in China saw their incomes rise 24 percent. Compare this to the U.S. where the job market has shown some signs of life, but continues to sputter.