RAPAPORT… Gold-jewelry demand plummeted in 2020 due to the pandemic and high prices, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).
The global total dropped 34% to 1,412 tonnes for the year, the lowest since the organization began collating annual data in 1995, it reported Thursday.
Demand plunged in the first half and fell less heavily in the third quarter, with an economic recovery in key markets leading to a stilted improvement in the fourth quarter. Average gold prices for the year jumped 27% to $1,770 per ounce, further deterring consumers.
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was felt across the gold market throughout 2020, and [the fourth quarter] was no different,” said Louise Street, the WGC’s senior markets analyst for research. “Consumers around the world remained at the mercy of lockdowns, economic weakness and high gold prices, resulting in a new annual low in jewelry demand.”
In China, the largest market for gold jewelry, full-year demand decreased 35% to 416 tonnes, reflecting the lasting economic impact of Covid-19 on spending. The decline also stemmed from structural changes, such as retailers reducing inventories and points of sale, as well as a shift in young consumers’ preferences toward lighter products, the council explained.
Demand in India slid 42% to 316 tonnes, as store closures in the second quarter hammered sales during an important period for holiday spending. This outweighed a fourth-quarter recovery. Turkey and the Middle East saw a 30% drop, while demand in the US fell 10%.
Image: Gold jewelry. (Shutterstock)