Gold is a precious metal and has high ductility as well as malleability, mainly used as jewellery and for investment purposes globally. Gold is currently oversold in a bearish market attributed to its escalating high prices. Gold is considered as the safest bet for investment in devious times of war and high inflation with currency fluctuations. Recent rebellions and war events in the Middle Eastern countries of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria and now Ukraine has led to rise in investments in bullion. This has caused overselling of gold and thus rapid increase in prices worldwide.
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Rising prices are expected to be a major factor driving the global gold market as more and more consumers are purchasing gold as a mean of long terms investments. Further, political instability and confidence over bullion, as a secure investment with high returns, aid in generating demand for gold. However, strikes, technical issues and diminishing ore grades might hamper the market growth in the coming years. Global gold supply is a mixture of mined gold, scrap recovery and central-bank supply. More than half of gold supply worldwide comes from mined gold. China is the largest producer of mined gold. It overtook South Africa in terms of gold production volume in 2007.
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Gold market can be segmented based on its end-use into three segments as jewellery, investment and others. Jewellery market saw a considerable decline between 2009 and 2011. The consumers had liquidated most of their jewellery during this period owing to the economic downturn in 2008-09. However, the market saw a rise again in 2012 due to economic recovery leading to gold’s rising prices. Jewellery market in China has trebled over the last decade and is likely to continue the growth trend with rising disposable income of the local population. Chinese market accounted for more than a quarter of the global jewellery market in 2013 according to the World Gold Council. Gold is considered as a safe haven for investment which further aids the market growth.
Asia Pacific is the leading producer as well as consumer of gold with major consumption in South East Asian countries. High growth in India, China and South East Asian countries coupled with rising disposable income of the general population is the major driver for the growth of the market, in the region. Further, industrial demand for gold especially in the electronics industry is expected to boost market growth in Asia Pacific. China is leading the market and is projected to increase its consumption to aid its high growth. The Chinese middle class urban population with rising disposable income has also increased investment in bullion as a quickly liquefiable asset substituting savings in the banks. Europe is the fastest growing region in terms of gold production with major production from Russia. Leading gold producing countries in the world include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Russia, the US, and Uzbekistan.
Some of the key players in the gold market include AngloGold Ashanti, Barrick Gold, Goldcorp Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., Gold Fields Limited, Goldcorp Inc., Gabriel Resources Limited, Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited, Jinshan Gold Mines Inc., New Gold Inc., Newcrest Mining Limited, and Newmont Mining Corporation among others.