Global gold demand down 7 pct in 2017: WGC

BY  | FROM  | 2018-02-06 19:58

Despite a rebound in the fourth quarter, global gold demand fell by 7 percent from a year earlier to 4,071.7 tonnes in 2017, according to a report issued Tuesday by the World Gold Council (WGC).

According to the latest Gold Demand Trends report, annual gold-backed exchange-traded fund inflows added 202.8 tonnes to the global demand in 2017, but it was only around one-third of the total inflow in 2016.

Global demand for gold bars and coins also decreased by 2 percent to 1,029 tonnes last year as U.S. retail investment plummeted to a 10-year low, said the WGC report.

However, global gold demand started rebounding in the fourth quarter of 2017, rising 6 percent year-on-year to 1,095.8 tonnes, WGC data showed.

The report said 2017 saw the first annual increase in jewelry demand since 2013 due to stable gold prices and improving economic conditions, but the sector remains soft compared with long-term average levels.

Gold demand in the technology sector also recovered last year, up 3 percent to 333 tonnes compared with 2016, ending a six-year downtrend.

Wang Lixin, WGC's managing director in China, attributed the growth in technology sector to the growing use of sensors in smartphones and vehicle safety features.

In China, the annual demand for gold bars and coins surged by 8 percent to 306.4 tonnes in 2017, above its five-year average of 284.8 tonnes. Meanwhile, Chinese consumers gained stronger appetite for gold jewelry, said the report.

"The trend for lower-weight, better designed, higher-margin 'premium' gold jewelry products continued to gather momentum...we believe the outlook for Chinese jewelry demand is positive," Wang said.

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