Notes and Definitions

30 April, 2024


Revisions to data

All data is subject to revision in the light of new information.

Historical data series

Demand and supply data from Q1 2014 are provided by Metals Focus. Data between Q1 2010 and Q4 2013 is a synthesis of Metals Focus and GFMS, Thomson Reuters data, which was created using relatively simple statistical techniques. For more information on this process, please see Creating a consistent data series by Dr James Abdey.


Net investment (i.e. gross purchases less gross sales) in small gold bars (1kg and below) sold at the retail level. Where identifiable, this also includes gold bought and stored via online vendors.

Central banks

Net purchases (i.e. gross purchases less gross sales) by central banks and other official sector institutions, including supra national entities such as the IMF. Swaps and the effects of delta hedging are excluded.

Comex net long positioning

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) publishes a weekly Commitment of Traders (COT) report that provides information on the positioning of speculative investors in the U.S. futures markets. The report gives the aggregate positions held by traders from the previous Tuesday, including the number of long contracts (that stand to benefit if prices rise) and short contracts (that benefit if they fall). The report is often used as an indicator of market sentiment regarding the price of gold: short positioning reflects bearish sentiment while long positioning reflects bullish sentiment in the gold futures’ markets.

Consumer demand

The sum of jewellery consumption and total bar and coin investment occurring within a country i.e. the amount (in fine weight) of gold purchased directly by individuals. Technology demand is not included at the individual country level, as it is measured at the point of fabrication rather than at the point of consumption.


The volume of gold bullion or grain fabricated into components used in the production of electronics, including – but not limited to – semiconductors and bonding wire.


The volume of gold bullion or grain fabricated into products destined for dental applications such as dental alloys. 

Gold-backed Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) and similar 

The volume of gold held in physical form by open-ended Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and other products such as close-end funds, and mutual funds. Most funds included in this list are fully backed by physical gold. While several funds allow other holdings such as cash, derivatives or other precious metals, we monitor only those funds investing at least 90% in physical gold and appropriately adjust their reported assets to estimate physical holdings only. For funds that include physical holdings of multiple precious metals, the total AUM depicted for such funds is lower than their actual total AUM. Over time, the data set will adapt to most accurately represent the universe of active funds. For a comprehensive list of the funds we track or to subscribe to our monthly update on gold-backed ETF holdings, visit


Fabrication is the first transformation of gold bullion into a semi-finished or finished product.

Gold bullion

Gold, in bar form, refined to a purity of at least 99.5%.

Gold demand

The total of jewellery fabrication, technology fabrication, investment and net purchases by central banks.

Jewellery consumption

End-user (consumer) demand for all newly-made carat jewellery sold at the retail level, by volume of fine gold. Measured on a gross basis (i.e. includes recycled gold). Excludes: purchases funded by the trading-in of existing carat gold jewellery (gold-for-gold exchange); and purchases of second-hand jewellery, other metals plated with gold, and coins and bars used as jewellery. At the global level, it is measured as jewellery fabrication adjusted for changes in inventories held by the trade. At the country level, it is jewellery fabrication adjusted for changes in trade stocks plus imports, less exports.

Jewellery fabrication

Jewellery fabrication is the first transformation of gold bullion into semi-finished or finished jewellery. This differs from jewellery consumption as it excludes stock building/de-stocking by manufacturers and distributors. At the individual country level, it also excludes imports or exports.

Jewellery inventory

Changes to the level of jewellery stocks along the jewellery distribution chain, this is the difference between gold fabrication and gold consumption. A negative figure represents a draw-down of stocks when consumption exceeds fabrication. A positive figure represents a build-up of stocks. 

LBMA Gold price PM

Unless otherwise specified, gold price values from 20 March 2015 are based on the LBMA Gold price PM administered by ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA), with prior values being based on the London PM Fix. For more information, see

Medals/imitation coins

Fabrication of gold coins without a face value, produced by both private and official/national mints. India dominates this category with, on average, around 75% of the total. ‘Medallion’ is the name given to unofficial coins in India. Medals of at least 99% purity are also included.

Mine production

The volume (in fine weight) of gold mined globally. This includes an estimate for gold produced by artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), which is largely informal. For more information, refer to:

Net producer hedging

The net impact in the physical market of mining companies’ gold forward sales, loans and options positions. Hedging transactions – which release gold to the market from existing above-ground stocks – accelerates the sale of gold. De-hedging – the process of closing out hedged positions – has the opposite impact and will reduce the amount of gold available to the market in any given quarter. Over time, hedging activity does not generate a net change in the supply of gold. For more information, refer to:

Official coins

Net investment in gold bullion coins (i.e. gross purchases less gross sales) at the retail level. It is equal to the volume of fine gold in coins fabricated by official/national mints which are, or have been, legal tender in the country of issue. It is measured at the country of consumption rather than at the country of origin (for example, the Perth Mint in Australia, sells most of the coins it produces through its global distribution network). In practice it includes the initial sale of many coins destined ultimately to be considered as numismatic rather than bullion.

OTC and other

This number captures demand in the OTC market (for which data is not readily available), changes to inventories on commodity exchanges, any unobserved changes in fabrication inventories and any statistical residual. It is the difference between total supply and gold demand. 

Other industrial

Gold used in the production of compounds, such as Gold Potassium Cyanide, for electro-plating in industrial applications as well as in the production of gold-plated jewellery and other decorative items such as gold thread. India accounts for the bulk of demand in this category.

Over-the-counter (OTC)

Over-the-counter (OTC) transactions (also referred to as ‘off exchange’ trading) take place directly between two parties, unlike exchange trading which is conducted via  an exchange.

Recycled gold

Gold recovered from fabricated products, including unused trade stocks, which is refined back into bullion. This specifically refers to gold sold for cash. It does not include gold traded-in for other gold products (for example, by consumers at jewellery stores) or process scrap (scrap generated during manufacturing, which never becomes part of a fabricated product but instead returns as scrap to a refiner). For more information, refer to


This captures all gold used in the fabrication of electronics, dental, medical, decorative and other technological applications, with electronics representing the largest component of this category. It includes gold destined for plating jewellery.

Tonne (Metric)

1,000 kg or 32,151 troy oz of fine gold.

Total bar and coin 

Total net investment in gold bars, coins and medals/imitation coins.

Total supply

The total of mine production, net producer hedging and recycling.

Year-to-date (y-t-d)

In Gold Demand Trends, year-to-date refers to the period to the end of the quarter being reviewed (i.e. for Gold Demand Trends Q2 2017, ‘year-to-date’ referred to the period from 31/12/2016 to 30/06/2017).

Important disclaimers and disclosures [+]Important disclaimers and disclosures [-]