Gold Demand Trends Q1 2018

Published

Soft start to 2018: Q1 demand down 7%

Gold demand of 973.5t was the lowest Q1 since 2008. The main cause was a fall in investment demand for gold bars and gold-backed ETFs, partly due to range-bound gold prices.

Jewellery demand was steady at 487.7t, as growth in China and the US compensated for weaker Indian demand. Central banks bought 116.5t of gold (+42% y-o-y). Technology demand extended its recent upward trend, growing 4% y-o-y to 82.1t. The total supply of gold increased by 3% to 1,063.5t, primarily due to a modest increase in producer hedging. Mine production was fractionally higher at 770t.

Source: Metals Focus; GFMS, Thomson Reuters; World Gold Council

Highlights

China, Germany and the US drove weakness in bar and coin investment. Global demand fell 15% to 254.9t as range-bound gold prices undermined investor interest.

ETFs saw a fifth consecutive quarter of inflows. Holdings grew 32.4t, due to growth in US-listed funds. Q1 investment was mixed, with rising interest rates on the one hand and a sharp spike in stock market volatility on the other.

Global jewellery demand was roughly flat at 487.7t. China was buoyed by holiday spending and the supportive economic backdrop improved US demand. By contrast, Indian consumers were discouraged by rising local gold prices.

Central banks added 116.5t to global official reserves in Q1. This was the highest Q1 total for four years and in line with long-term average quarterly purchases of 114.9t since Q1 2010.

Demand for gold in the technology sector continued to improve. The wireless sector was a key area of growth as facial recognition is increasingly deployed in smartphones, gaming consoles and security systems.

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