The World Gold Council published its annual Gold Demand Trends for 2017 last week.
It turns out that the fourth quarter was strong (+6%, year-over-year) but full year demand was down 7%.
Gold ETF inflows grew 5% and central banks added 371.4 tons to their gold reserves, but that was down 5% from 2016’s net purchases.
Jewelry demand was up 4%, led by India and China, with gold’s industrial usages rising in smartphones and vehicles.
Here are some of the other highlights from the WGC report:
- The value of gold in gold-backed exchange traded funds (ETFs) topped $100 billion for the first time in five years. The WGC calculates that ETF vaults now hold around 2,400 metric tons (tonnes), or 77 million troy ounces of gold. At any price above $1,300 an ounce, that’s over $100 billion in gold held in gold ETF accounts. WGC says the total global assets under management by gold ETFs grew by 5%, however gold bar and coin investment demand fell by 10% in 2017.
- Vietnam is the new leader in the growth rate of jewelry demand in Asia, topping even India and China. Vietnam’s annual jewelry demand rose by 7% to 16.5 metric tons, helped in part by a year-over-year gain of 11% in the fourth quarter of 2017. This was the strongest year for gold jewelry demand in Vietnam since 2008. The WGC attributed the rise to strong economic growth and stock market gains in Vietnam, helped by the expansion of the jewelry retail network and indications that the communist Vietnamese government could begin to liberalize the gold market.
- Iran’s gold jewelry demand reached 45.4 metric tons last year, up 12% from 2017 and the most since 2013. WGC also said that Iran and Kuwait were the only two Middle Eastern countries to register higher gold jewelry demand in 2017 than 2016, since Saudi Arabian purchases were down 8% and demand in the UAE sank to a 20-year low, the fourth consecutive annual decline.
- China was the world's largest consumer of gold bars and coins in 2017, buying a total of 306.4 metric tons, due mostly to a rise in young consumers. This was 8% above 2016 demand and the first yearly increase since 2013. China’s gold jewelry market also rose 3% in 2017 to 647 metric tons. Overall, China’s gold consumption rose 9.4% to 1,089 metric tons in 2017, ensuring that China will retain its role as the world’s #1 gold producer and consumer for the fifth year in a row.
Mike Fuljenz is a member of the Newsmax Finance Brain Trust. He is also the editor of the NLG award winning Michael Fuljenz Metals Market Weekly Report. Discover more by Clicking Here Now.
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