UK gold jewellery demand up 1%, while 24 carat pieces reign supreme

Assay Office Birmingham celebrates last and first articles to be hallmarked in headquarters move.

Demand for gold jewellery in the UK picked up 1% in the fourth quarter of last year, as overall global demand in the sector ended 2015 on a relatively firm footing.

Gold jewellery sales hit 13t during the last three months of the year and 26t for the whole of 2015.

The pick-up in the UK was largely a function of how low demand had fallen compared with historical levels, although improved economic conditions were also favourable to consumers.

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On a worldwide basis, the last three months of the year showed little change as demand reached 671.4t, however with third quarter figures factored in as well, the industry produced the strongest second half-year total for gold jewellery in 11 years as demand expanded by 2% to 1,299.9t.

According to the World Gold Council, which published the figures this morning, you have to go back as far as 2004 to find a higher demand in the second half of a year.

While 24 carat jewellery still dominates the market (accounting for around 85% of demand) higher-margin 18k product continues to grab market share, particularly as new collections are rolled out to capture consumer attention.

But inventories are being managed conservatively given a lack of confidence that the year ahead will produce any meaningful growth in demand, the World Gold Council said.

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