Gold Demand Trends Q2 2018

Published

Q2 gold demand 4% weaker on slower ETF inflows

Gold demand stayed soft in Q2, dropping to 964.3t. The H1 total of 1,959.9t is the lowest since 2009.

ETF inflows have steadied at low levels in recent quarters, making for weak y-o-y comparisons. Q2 jewellery demand dipped 2% to 510.3t, largely due to a weaker Indian market. The pace of central bank buying also slowed in Q2 (-7%). Bar and coin demand was virtually unchanged as growth in a few key markets cancelled out weakness elsewhere. Technology demand provided some relief, adding 2% to reach a three-year high. Gold supply notched up a second consecutive quarter of growth, (up 3%) reaching 1,120.2t.

Source: Metals Focus; World Gold Council

Highlights

Inflows into ETFs remained at a steady trickle, having slowed sharply from the torrent of 2016/17. Inflows were 46% lower y-o-y. European-listed funds saw decent inflows we believe due to uncertainty stemming from Italian elections and the monetary policy outlook. But holdings of North American-listed funds fell by 30.6t as investors focused on domestic economic strength.

Despite the Q2 decline, H1 jewellery demand was scarcely changed at 1,031.2t. Weaker demand in India and the Middle East during Q2 was partially offset by growth in China and the US. 

Q2 was the seventh consecutive quarter of y-o-y growth in the technology sector: demand grew 2% to 83.3t. Gold used in electronics continues to thrive due to enduring demand for smartphones, games consoles and automotive electronics.

Global bar and coin investment was virtually static at 247.6t. Stronger demand in China and Iran – fuelled by increasing geopolitical tensions with the US – were offset by falls in Turkey, India and Europe, where local prices remained elevated.

Central banks added 89.4t of gold to global official reserves in Q2, down 7% y-o-y. Cumulative H1 purchases of 193.3t were the highest since 2015.

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