Soaring gold price drives up dollar-based sales in turbulent year.
UK gold jewellery sales rose by 3 percent in dollar terms in 2009, one of the only countries in the world to register growth, according to the Gold Demand Trends report.
World-wide gold jewellery sales slumped by 10 percent. The worst affected regions include the Middle East, down 19 percent; Russia, down 29 percent; and Thailand, down 51 percent in dollar terms.
However, the UK was selling less gold in terms of weight, with tonnage sales dropping by 15 percent; slightly better than the global slump of 20 percent.
Declining sales by the tonne being offset by higher gold prices was the most noteworthy trend for the industry in 2009.
Global dollar-spending on gold in 2009 remained above $100 billion for the second year in succession, despite falling sales volumes in tonnes caused by the Western world recession.
The price of gold averaged $US972.35/oz for the year, 12 percent higher than in 2008, according to the World Gold Council’s Gold Demand Trends report.
This increased dollar price compensated for an 11 percent fall in volume to 3385.8 tonnes for the year.
The shape of world-wide gold sales saw marked shifts through the year – often resulting in overall demand being sustained. When demand in one sector of the industry was falling, demand in other sectors was rising.
“2009 was a year which provided a clear illustration of the diversity inherent in the global gold market. As the year progressed a rebalancing of gold market fundamentals occurred, ensuring that as investment demand came off from the exceptional levels seen in the first quarter, total demand for the year remained robust thanks to a rebound in jewellery and industrial demand,” said Aram Shishmanian, CEO of World Gold Council.
“Gold’s broad demand and supply drivers provide a unique balance in the face of economic volatility and uncertainty. This ensures gold retains its intrinsic appeal irrespective of the prevailing market conditions,” he added.
Gold supply increased, thanks largely to a rise in recycling as consumers took advantage of high bullion prices to sell unwanted gold jewellery. Supply increased most sharply in the first quarter, with an 11 percent spike.
Global supply of recycled gold rose by 27 percent for the year.
It was a tough year for gold jewellery manufacturers. The world-wide value of fabricated jeweller fell by 20 percent, although the year ended considerably better than it started, with fourth quarter sales down only 5 percent.