China now the world's largest gold jewellery market
Shanghai skyline According to the World Gold Council’s (WGC) latest analysis of the gold market, during 2011 Chinese jewellery demand increased significantly to 756.8 metric tons – a 20% increase in comparison with the previous year. Investment demand for gold in China increased by a record 69%. In Europe gold demand climbed for the seventh year in a row. Furthermore, central banks in developing countries have also have been stocking up their gold reserves in order to diversify out of the US dollar.
Notably, during the second half of 2011 – for the first time in history – China outpaced its neighbour India as the world's largest jewellery market. Gold demand from Chinese investors reached a total of 258.9 metric tons, or $13.4 billion. Chinese and Indian demand together accounts for 55% of global jewellery demand. In 2011 total Indian demand was 933.4 metric tons.
In Europe investment demand for gold climbed for the seventh year in a row. Demand for the yellow metal is strong, owing to the continent’s sovereign debt crisis. Some fear that Greece and other peripheral euro countries will buckle under the strain of EU-imposed austerity, and that they will be forced out of the eurozone. This currency turmoil could drastically increase European investment demand for gold. Total 2011 European gold investment demand increased by 374.8 metric tons. Gold demand is particularly strong in Switzerland and Germany.
Meanwhile, central banks in developing countries increased their buying substantially last year. In 2010 all the world’s central banks purchased 77 metric tons net; but in 2011 this figure increased to 439.7 metric tons. This huge surge is a result of emerging countries’ desire to diversify their currency reserves (in contrast, western central banks are not buying gold).
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