The following are key highlights from the most recent World Gold Council “Gold Demand Trends” Report.
Inflows into global gold-backed ETFs pushed total holdings to a record year-end total of 2,885.5t. Holdings grew by 401.1t over the year, with 26.8t added in Q4. Inflows were heavily concentrated in Q3 as the US dollar gold price rallied to a six-year high.
Central banks were net buyers for a 10th consecutive year. Global reserves grew by 650.3t (-1% y-o-y), the second highest annual total for 50 years. Purchasing in Q4 of 109.6t was 34% lower y-o-y, although this was partly a reflection of the sheer scale of buying in 2018.
Source: GOLDHUB, Gold Demand Trends Full Year and Q4 2019
China and India held sway over global consumer demand. Together, the two gold consuming giants accounted for 80% of the y-o-y decline in Q4 jewelry and retail investment demand. High gold prices and a softer economic environment were the main culprits.
The gold price averaged US$1,481/oz in Q4 of 2019. This was the highest average price since Q1 2013. Although the price remained below the Q3 high, it was well supported. Gold priced in various currencies - including euros, Indian rupees and Turkish lira - hit their highest levels in history.