Thailand Has Become A Major Hub For Gold

Thailand gold laughing buddha statueREUTERS/Edgar SuStore employee Jeffrey puts his hand on a gold and porcelain Buddha statue that the store had valued at S$38,888 ($34083) at a Cash Converters used goods store in Singapore, August 30, 2013.

Thailand saw a 57% year-over-year rise in Q3 gold jewelry demand, and a 126% YoY rise bar and coin investment, according to the
World Gold Council’s latest report.

“Thailand staged the most impressive rally, more than doubling from year-earlier levels,” the report said of the surge in Thailand’s investment demand for gold. Gold demand was boosted by concerns that the Thai baht might be devalued.

“The prospect of a devaluation of the Thai baht boosted demand among domestic investors as a means of storing wealth. The increasing prevalence of small gold bars within jewellery retailers across the Asian region supported demand.”

But this wasn’t the only reason. “This was in no small part due to Thailand being used as a route to channel gold into other markets, notably India and Vietnam.”

Earlier this year India moved to suspend gold imports from Thailand. India had a 1% duty on the import of gold jewelry from Thailand at the time, compared with 10% on other countries.

Indian officials believed gold imports from Thailand originated elsewhere and that Thailand was taking advantage of the bilateral free trade agreement between the two nations.

Thailand’s consumer demand for gold was 35.6 tonnes and paled in comparison to 148.2 tonnes in India, and 209.6 tones in mainland China. But the year-over-year-growth demand has been huge.

Here’s a look at total bar and coin demand in tonnes:

Meanwhile, here’s a chart that shows the per cent change in jewelry demand:

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