Gold demand falls in 2012 for first time in 3 years



REUTERS

Published — Friday 15 February 2013

Last update 14 February 2013 10:27 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

LONDON: Demand for gold fell last year for the first time since 2009 as Asians bought less jewelry and Western investment dipped, the World Gold Council said in a report bears saw as new evidence the 12-year rally may be topping out.
The WGC, which is funded by the gold industry, said gold consumption was expected to be steady this year but added that it may be some time before it revisits the high levels seen in the worst of the financial crisis.
“It’s hard to see a major move up in demand (this year). I know there are bears out there who are starting to call the end of the bull market in gold, but we don’t agree,” said the WGC’s managing director for investment, Marcus Grubb.
“Demand will remain high, but we’re talking small single-digit (percent) numbers in terms of growth from the current tonnage level,” he said.
In 2012, demand was down 4 percent from the previous year’s total, the WGC report said. “The tonnage last year was 4,405 tons for consumer demand, and if you add in over-the-counter demand, it’s another 100 tons higher,” Grubb added. “We would expect 2013 to be quite similar.”
Grubb said he saw gold prices, which have traded between $ 1,625 and $ 1,695 an ounce this year, staying in their current trading range, although events that could destabilize the market, such as US budget talks, could push them higher.
The gold price is down 1.4 percent so far this year after posting its biggest quarterly drop since 2008 in the last three months of 2012. Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and GFMS have all forecast a turn in gold’s bull cycle this year.
“Unless something major changes in the macro landscape, this (report) does back up the idea that investors’ attention is much more focused elsewhere at the moment,” Credit Suisse analyst Tom Kendall said.
Jewelry demand fell 3 percent last year to 1,908.1 tons, with the biggest absolute drop noted in India, the largest gold consumer, where a weak rupee led to record-high local prices.
In the fourth quarter it rose 11 percent, however, helped by a 35 percent rebound in Indian jewelry demand. “Jewelry could have a good year in 2013,” Grubb said. “Western demand might at last improve as the US economy and others improve.”
hina, the second-biggest gold buyer behind India, saw a 1 percent drop in jewelry demand to 510.6 tons, its first annual decline since 2002.
Overall demand was flat in China in the full year and fell 12 percent in India, although buying rose in the final quarter as buyers scrambled to avoid a widely anticipated rise in import duty that was announced in January.
“Provided we see no more increases in import duty, we still think we will see India continue to recover from what was a difficult year in 2012 overall,” Grubb said.
He said a higher number of auspicious gold-buying occasions in the first quarter of 2013 would probably favor the metal.
“When you look at the full year, we’re anticipating that we’ll see 865-965 tons of demand,” he said.
In China, demand is expected to recover to between 780 and 880 tons this year, against 776.1 tons last year.
“The jury’s out on a major re-acceleration of growth in Chinese gold demand,” Grubb said. “Last year we saw the first significant slowdown in the Chinese economy in years. That did affect these numbers. What you’re seeing in January and February is a re-acceleration in the Chinese economy.”
Buying by various central banks continued its upward trend to hit a 48-year high at 534.6 tons. Grubb said he expected the official sector to match last year’s buying in 2013, partly because monetary easing by developed countries was undermining confidence in the value of currencies.
“Emerging country central banks regard quantitative easing policies as divisive and (believe they) affect the value of the assets that they hold — the dollar and euro, for example,” he told the Reuters Global Gold Forum. “They are diversifying away from traditional currencies and buying gold as a hedge.”
Bar and coin investment fell sharply in the US and Europe last year, with US offtake dropping by more than a third and European buying down 29 percent. Overall investment demand last year fell 10 percent to 1,534.6 tons.
Investment via gold-backed exchange-traded funds rose, however, with ETF demand up by more than half at 279 tons.
“Overall for the year (coin and bar demand) was weak, and it reflects the fact that in Europe the announcements by the European Central Bank took away tail risk in the mind of the investor,” Grubb said.
“The announcement of (bond-buying) in Europe and quantitative easing in the US also mitigated fears of a near-term crisis, and I think that’s why bar and coin demand fell. Institutional investors and private wealth took a different view — you see the ETF tonnages went up 51 percent and over-the-counter (demand) had a strong year.”
He said while more optimism over the outlook for the global economy was likely to encourage investment in other assets like stocks, the fact that much of that was driven by extremely loose monetary policy meant gold investment was unlikely to fall.
“Investors are trying to call a turn in the asset cycle,” Grubb said.
“The jury’s still out on whether this will be the year when it actually happens. Even if you do start to look at the world more optimistically in 2013, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for gold in your portfolio.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

ALKHOBAR: A power failure at the King Fahd Causeway on Wednesday night resulted in a massive traffic congestion, even as officials failed to explain the cause of the snag, local media reported.A power outage for 74 minutes on the link between the Kin...
JEDDAH: A female Saudi lawyer was able to get a stay order on a ruling by the general court in Jeddah that awarded custody of a two-year-old girl to her father. She successfully argued to get the court order reversed that gave custody back to the mot...
JEDDAH: The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) said that combating harassment cases is part of its responsibility to promote Islamic values and morals in society.“Those harassing women will be brought to book,” s...
RIYADH: A thick layer of sand covered the city’s skyline on Saturday with a heavy blanket of dust caused by strong winds hampering visibility and creating traffic snarls on busy roads.The traffic department advised motorists to drive slowly and exerc...
JEDDAH: More than 26 million Umrah pilgrims and worshippers visited the Grand Mosque during the month of Ramadan and in the first few days after Eid Al-Fitr, thanks to a smooth transport arrangement under the guidance of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-...
AL-AHSA: An outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) has been discovered in cattle in Al-Ahsa which is an area with many cows. All necessary measures have been taken to protect the livestock, said Mahmoud Al-Shuaibi of the Agriculture Department in Al-Ah...
RIYADH: An architectural masterpiece — the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center (KAHC) — in Riyadh is a huge complex dedicated solely to collecting, preserving, promoting and showcasing the history and heritage of Saudi Arabia. The KAHC is a three milli...
RIYADH: The Saudi Blind Society (Kafif) has made all preparations for the three-day workshop for the blind to be held here next week and attended by delegates from various Asian countries.Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Shuwaiman, Kafif director general, th...
JEDDAH: The number of Saudis who took early retirement schemes last year stood at 38,647, the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) has said. The Eastern Provinces got the lion's share of disbursements for retirees, amounting to SR3.8 bill...
JEDDAH: Meat and poultry topped the list of food items seized by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) at the border crossings for violating the health standards in the last two months.Approximately 267,137 kg of unfit meat and poultry were reject...
JEDDAH: Many sponsors and workers of small companies are struggling to get a comparatively cheaper health cover for renewal of iqama (residential permit) as the insurance companies have stopped issuing the same.The passport department has made it com...
RIYADH: Police have detained 11 Indonesian nationals, who arrived in the holy city of Makkah for Umrah a few days back.The Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry is working closely with the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah to assist the group of citizen...
JEDDAH: The National Committee for Bakeries at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) said this Haj season would see no shortage in supplies of bakery items.The committee said there was need to increase operational labor by about 20 percent.It confirmed...
LONDON: Members of Osama Bin Laden’s family were among four people who died when a private jet crashed in Britain, Saudi Arabia’s embassy in London said on Saturday.The Saudi-registered plane plowed into a car auction site and burst into flames in so...
JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al Hamzi, director general of prisons, has sacked Brig. Ahmad Al Shahrani, director of Jeddah prisons, after the case of a video clip about prisoners taking heroin went viral, according to local media.Quoting informed source...

Stay Connected

Facebook