Gold demand is tanking

It’s not only the gold price under pressure at present – demand for the precious metal is falling fast.

A report released by the World Gold Council (WGC) earlier today showed demand dropped 12% to a six-year low of 914.9 tonnes during the June quarter.

The table below reveals demand fell across the board with the largest source globally – jewellery – down 14% on levels of a year earlier.

The fall was chiefly due to the weakness in the key markets of India and China, which were dictated by market-specific issues, said the WGC.

In China, the largest source of market for jewellery globally, demand slid as slower economic growth and movements in the stock market weighed.

Here’s the WGC:

“Jewellery demand in China dropped 5%. Continued economic slowdown and severe fluctuations in the domestic stock market knocked consumer sentiment. The consumer environment in China has been overshadowed by the deceleration in domestic GDP growth and the jewellery market has been a notable casualty of this trend; the decline in network expansion into Tier 3 and 4 cities by jewellery retail chains bears witness to this”.

Not only did economic growth slow demand, movements in the stock market – both up and down – also hindered demand.

“Stock market turbulence also impeded demand. On the one hand, rallying equities drew attention away from discretionary purchases of items such as gold jewellery as consumers poured disposable income into chasing stocks higher. On the other hand, the sharp reversal in stock markets in late June damaged sentiment, wiping out the capital gains made by late joiners to the rally and leaving consumers less inclined to spend their disposable income on jewellery, among other things”.

Reflective of a stronger US dollar and its overall economic performance compared to other nations, jewellery demand in the US increased, rising 3% to 36.6 tonnes.

The economic turmoil in Greece may have also played a part in demand from Europe jumping 14% to 53.7 tonnes.

Besides jewellery central bank demand also softened during the quarter, falling 13% compared to levels of a year earlier.

Russia continued to lead the way – feeding its voracious appetite with net purchases of 36.8t during the quarter, said the WGC, adding significant fresh demand came from Kazakhstan, whose central bank purchased a further 7.3t between April – June.

On China, having announced its official gold reserves for the first time since 2009 last month, the WGC believes there is still ample room for reserves to grow.

The PBOC revealed it increased gold reserves by 57% since its last announcement in 2009, bringing the total to 1,658 tonnes. Following the 604 tonnes increase, gold reserves still only represent 2% of total reserves. The WGC says that leaves ample room for growth.

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