Global demand for gold from investors, consumers and industry stagnated in 2015, according to new research.
Demand was virtually unchanged compared to 2014 – at 4,212 tonnes in 2015 compared to 4,226 tonnes the year before.
Trade body the World Gold Council commented that the year might have been worse had central banks not invested so heavily in gold during the second half of 2015, while consumers and investors in India and China increased their spending.
Gold demand broken down by sector for 2015 was:
- Consumer demand was 3,427 tonnes, down just 2% compared to 3,481 tonnes in 2014
- Investor demand was 878 tonnes, up 8% from 815 tonnes in 2014
- Jewellery demand in 2015 was down 3% to 2,415 tonnes from 2,481 tonnes in 2014
- Central bank demand was a flat 588 tonnes compared to 584 tonnes in 2014
- Technology sector demand was down 5% to 331 tonnes from 346 tonnes in 2014
- Total supply was down 4% to 4,258 tonnes compared to 4,414 tonnes in 2014, while mining supply was down 2% to 3,165 tonnes from 3,244 tonnes in 2014
Strong second half
The largest gold markets are China and India, where investors and consumers have around 45% of the global market.
Although jewellery sales were down year-on-year, sellers reported the strongest second half for 11 years.
Central banks continued to diversify with gold, although demand was flat during the year. Banks have now had 20 quarters in a row of net purchasing.
Alistair Hewitt, head of market intelligence at the World Gold Council, said: “Last year saw stock market turmoil, a slowing of economic growth, tumbling oil prices and the first US interest rate rise for almost a decade, but gold still held its own as an important commodity and a hedge against risk.
Stock markets wobble
“We expect central banks will prop up demand for physical gold purchases, such as bars, coins and jewellery by consumers around the world – especially India and China.
“We believe the arguments for investing in gold are as strong as ever. Stock markets may have wobbled, but gold has remained a strong performer.”
The spot price of gold is US$1,239 compared to $1,295 a year ago.