National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

US gold demand grows for fifth straight quarter

By Michelle Graff

August 14, 2014

London--U.S. demand for gold jewelry rose 15 percent year-over-year in the second quarter, topping growth in Eastern markets that typically are more robust.

Consumer demand for gold in the United States totaled 26.1 tonnes (also known as a metric ton, which is 2,204.6 pounds) in the second quarter up from 22.7 tonnes in the second quarter 2013, the World Gold Council’s Gold Demand Trends report shows. 

In value terms, demand rose 5 percent, with the price of gold down 9 percent year-over-year. 

The average price of gold was $1,414.80 in the second quarter 2013 but dropped to $1,288.40 over the course of a year. As of Thursday afternoon, gold was at $1,314 an ounce, according to Kitco.com, only 2 percent higher than the second quarter average.

Analysts have said they don’t expect much fluctuation in the metal’s price for the rest of 2014.  

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The U.S. continues to absorb more gold imports from India, China and Italy, and confidence is growing both in the supply chain, which is aided by higher margins, and among consumers who “continue to feel the benefits of an improving domestic economy,” the WGC said. 

Consumer demand growth in the U.S., as well as other Western markets with the exception of Italy, outpaced growth in Asian and Middle Eastern countries, which experienced double-digit declines in demand. 

Sharp declines in these key markets caused global demand for gold jewelry to sink 30 percent in volume terms and 36 percent in value terms year-over-year. 

Still, global demand for gold jewelry, “seems to be extending the broad upward trend from the base established in the depths of the financial crisis in early 2009,” the WGC said. 

The report also notes that the recycling of gold in the second quarter hit its lowest point since the first half 2007, and is returning to a level not seen since before the recession, when prices soared and cash-poor consumers rushed to sell their gold jewelry. 

After experiencing a boom during the downturn, scrap dealers in the U.S. as well as in the United Kingdom have seen business slow in the last year or two, and many have shuttered their doors. 

The WGC said it expects gold recycling to continue its decline, as consumers who needed to sell their gold already have done so and prices today are lower and it seems unlikely the market will experience a repeat of the gold-selling rush seen during the recession.