Continuing the spectacular ten-year bull market for gold prices, global demand for the precious metal hit 4,067.1 tonnes in 2011 with a value of US$205.5 billion, the highest record in 14 consecutive years, according to the 2011 Gold Demand Trends Report released last Thursday by the World Gold Council (WGC), the market development organization for the gold industry.
The increase was largely driven by the investment sector (bar and coin demand, physical bar demand, etc.). Demand remained strong throughout the whole year of 2011, closing up by 5 percent as compared to 2010.
Gold buying in the major markets of India and China accounted for 49 percent of the world's total demand and 55 percent of global jewelry demand. In addition, a surge of demand in Europe arose over concern from the eurozone crisis, especially as central banks strove to diversify assets.
The average price of gold in 2011 was US$1,571.5 per ounce, more than 28 percent higher than that of 2010, according to the WGC report. In 2011, the price hit a record US$1,920 per ounce in September, and then began to fluctuate between that peak and above US$1,300 per ounce, until it closed for the year at US$1,531 per ounce.
Historically, the gold price surged from US$272 per ounce at the end of 2000 to about US$1,700 per ounce at present, almost a six-fold increase. Thomson Reuters, a leading business data provider, estimated in January that the global gold market will continue its bull run to hit US$2,000 per ounce later this year or in early 2013.
Also read: Top 10 gold-producing countries in 2011
The following are the world's top ten gold buyers in terms of consumer demand compiled by the World Gold Council.
Saudi Arabia 沙特阿拉伯
Saudi Arabia was the 10th largest consumer of gold in the world in 2011. [gulfnews.com]
Year on Year Change: -12 percent
Saudi Arabia was the 10th largest consumer of gold in the world in 2011. Its total demand fell by 12 percent from 82.1 tonnes in 2010 to 72.2 tonnes in 2011, accounting for about 36 percent of the Middle East Region. In 2011, Saudi Arabia's jewelry demand declined by 17 percent to 55.8 tonnes, while total bar and coin investment surged by 13 percent to 16.4 tonnes.