Primarily driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching impacts, China’s gold demand in 2020 declined by 27% compared to 2019, the lowest in a decade. One of the side effects from such weakness was the widest Shanghai-London spot gold price discount in history. Averaging -US$24/oz in 2020, the local Chinese gold price spread remained far below its 10-year average between 2010 and 2019. 

Our analysis shows: 

  • China’s gold supply shortage, costs associated with importing gold, as well as restrictions on gold’s imports in China contributed to a local gold price premium during most days
  • Significantly weakened gold demand, relatively ample gold supply and the restrictive nature of gold exports could be main drivers for the record-level Chinese gold price discount in 2020
  • China’s gold consumption in 2021 is likely to recover further, albeit with challenges.

The significant weakness in China's gold demand contributed to a previously unseen Shanghai-London gold price discount in 2020*

Market Update: Feb 2021

Sources: ICE Benchmark Administration, Metals Focus, Shanghai Gold Exchange, World Gold Council; Disclaimer

*As of December 2020. China's gold consumption includes quarterly local demand for gold bars, coins, jewellery and ETF products. The spreads are expressed as quarterly averages of the differences between Au9999 and LBMA Gold Price AM as they have the narrowest trading time window and they are important benchmark spot gold prices.

Important disclaimers and disclosures

© 2021 World Gold Council. All rights reserved. World Gold Council and the Circle device are trademarks of the World Gold Council or its affiliates.
All references to LBMA Gold Price are used with the permission of ICE Benchmark Administration Limited and have been provided for informational purposes only. ICE Benchmark Administration Limited accepts no liability or responsibility for the accuracy of the prices or the underlying product to which the prices may be referenced. Other content is the intellectual property of the respective third party and all rights are reserved to them. 

Reproduction or redistribution of any of this information is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of World Gold Council or the appropriate copyright owners, except as specifically provided below.

The use of the statistics in this information is permitted for the purposes of review and commentary (including media commentary) in line with fair industry practice, subject to the following two pre-conditions: (i) only limited extracts of data or analysis be used; and (ii) any and all use of these statistics is accompanied by a citation to World Gold Council and, where appropriate, to Metals Focus, Refinitiv GFMS or other identified copyright owners, as their source. World Gold Council is affiliated with Metals Focus.

Neither the World Gold Council nor any of its affiliates (collectively, “WGC”) guarantees the accuracy or completeness of any information. WGC does not accept responsibility for any losses or damages arising directly or indirectly from the use of this information.

This information is for educational purposes only. Nothing contained herein is intended to constitute a recommendation, investment advice, or offer for the purchase or sale of gold, any gold-related products or services or any other products, services, securities or financial instruments (collectively, “Services”). This information does not take into account any investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person.    

By receiving this information, you agree with the intended purpose of this information as being for educational purposes only.  Diversification does not guarantee any investment returns and does not eliminate the risk of loss.    

Investors should discuss their individual circumstances with their appropriate investment professionals before making any decision regarding any Services or investments.

This information contains forward-looking statements, such as statements which use the words “believes”, “expects”, “may”, or “suggests”, or similar terminology, which are based on current expectations and are subject to change. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that any forward-looking statements will be achieved. WGC assumes no responsibility for updating any forward-looking statements.

Information regarding QaurumSM and the Gold Valuation Framework 

Note that the resulting performance of various investment outcomes that can generated through use of Qaurum, the Gold Valuation Framework and other information are hypothetical in nature, may not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. Diversification does not guarantee investment returns and does not eliminate the risk of loss.  World Gold Council and its affiliates and subsidiaries (collectively, “WGC”) provide no warranty or guarantee regarding the functionality of the tool, including without limitation any projections, estimates or calculations.