Sustained momentum in Chinese and Indian jewellery demand is also expected to underpin growth in the jewellery sector throughout 2011, according to the quarterly report of World Gold Council (WGC).
Strong demand in India during the recent Akshaya Tritiya festival and the beginning of wedding season, alongside extensive purchasing on dips in the gold price, underlines the strength of the Indian market,it said, adding that jewellery demand in the first quarter of 2011 registered a gain of seven per cent from year earlier levels of 521.3 tonnes to reach 556.9 tonnes. It equated to a record quarterly value of $24.8 billion.
India and China, the two largest markets for gold jewellery, together accounted for 349.1 tonnes or 63 per cent of the total, a value of $16 billion.
China’s jewellery demand reached a new quarterly record of 142.9 tonnes to $6.4 billion up by 21per cent from 118.2 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010.
The outlook for global gold demand remains robust throughout 2011 against a background of another strong quarter, the geographic and sectoral diversity of demand and strong fundamentals, the report added.
Demand for gold in the rest of 2011 will be driven by a number of key factors like prevailing global socio-economic conditions that is expected to continue to drive investment demand for gold; continued uncertainty over the US economy and the dollar, ongoing European sovereign debt concerns, global inflationary pressures and continued tensions in the Middle East and North Africa.
Net purchasing by the official sector is expected to continue in 2011 as central banks turn to gold as a means of diversifying their reserves into an asset with no credit or counterparty risk. The Central bank purchases jumped to 129 tonnes in the quarter, exceeding the combined total of net purchases during the first three quarters of 2010.
"Global gold demand in the first quarter of 2011 totalled 981.3 tonnes, up by 11 per cent year-on-year from 881 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010," it said, adding that in value terms, it translated to $43.7 billion, compared with $31.4 billion in the first quarter of 2010 -- an increase of almost 40 per cent.
The Quarterly Gold Update attributed the increase largely to a widespread rise in demand for bars and coins, supported by an improvement in jewellery demand in key markets.
The quarterly average gold price hit a new record of $1,386.27/oz (London PM Fix), its eighth consecutive year-on-year increase. Despite a period of price consolidation in the early part of the quarter, it climbed to record highs throughout March and has continued to achieve new highs in April and May.
During the first quarter of the year, investment demand grew by 26 per cent to 310.5 tonnes from 245.6 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010. In value terms, investment demand was $13.8 billion. The main growth came from bar and coin demand which increased by 52 per cent year-on-year, to 366.4 tonnes. In value terms, it represented a near-doubling of demand to $16.3 billion from $8.6 billion in the first quarter in 2010.
Similarly, ETFs and similar products witnessed net outflows of 56 tonnes to $2.5 billion. Redemptions were concentrated in January. Despite the outflows, the collective volume of gold held by global ETFs by the end of the quarter was in excess of 2,100 tonnes equating to more than $95 billion.
Technology demand remained steady in the first quarter at 113.8 tonnes to $5.1 billion. A revision to the fourth quarter figures now means that 2010 was the highest year on record for gold demand in electronics at 326.8 tonnes or $12.9 billion.
In the first quarter of 2011, gold supply declined by four per cent year-on-year to 872.2 tonnes from 912.1 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010. The decline was due to a sharp increase in net purchasing by the official sector and a fall in the supply of recycled gold, which was down by six per cent on year-earlier levels to 347.5 tonnes from 369.3 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010.
Mine production increased by 44 tonnes year-on-year, a growth rate of seven per cent from year earlier levels, with negligible net producer de-hedging.
Domestic market remain constant
KATHMANDU: The precious yellow metal remained immovable throughout the week, while silver price continued its decline. Gold started the week with at Rs 42,000 for a tola (11.664 grams) in the domestic market and remained constant throughout the whole week. But silver that opened at Rs 1,050 on the first day of the week dropped to Rs 996 per tola on Wednesdayand closed at Rs 1012 for a tola on Friday. In the international commodities market, gold started off at $1,495 and by the end of the week the price had reached $1,497. Similarly, strengthening US dollar against Nepali rupee did not allow the gold and silver price decreasing as much as it should have been. The exchange rate for a US dollar against Nepali rupee has strengthened this week as the week started with Rs 71.46 on Sunday but ended at 71.62 for a dollar.