London–Gold jewelry demand was on the rise in the second quarter of 2017, posting increases in both the U.S. market and worldwide.
In its latest Gold Demand Trends Report, the World Gold Council said Q2 demand in the United States rose 4 percent to 26.9 tons in the second quarter, falling just under the five-year quarterly average of 28.9 tons.
Demand in the first half of the year also rose 4 percent to reach 49.9 tons, due to improving consumer sentiment, the WGC said. This marks the highest first-half total since 2009.
The average gold price was $1,256.60 per ounce in the second quarter, about flat when compared with the same period last year.
Global demand for gold jewelry was up as well in Q2, rising 8 percent year-over-year to 480.8 tons, though this is compared to a very weak Q2 2016, the WGC said. It also remained well below the five-year quarterly average of 586.2 tons.
India drove global Q2 jewelry demand growth almost singlehandedly, the WGC said, with demand there rising from 89.8 tons last year to 126.7 tons this year.
This strong recovery was expected after exceptional import figures were reported and hit an all-time high in May as the market stockpiled gold ahead of the June Goods and Services Tax rate announcement.
Second quarter demand in Europe was weak, falling 4 percent.
Demand was particularly weak in the U.K., where uncertainty over Brexit deterred consumers from spending money. Q2 jewelry demand there was down 3 percent, hitting a three-year low of 3.8 tons.
Italian demand stablished at 4 tons, and the market is expected to manage some growth in the second half of 2017.
In China, jewelry demand weakened again but the pace of the decrease slowed. Demand decreased 5 percent year-over-year to 137.7 tons, the lowest second quarter for the country in five years. In the market, younger consumers are pulling away from the 24-karat gold tradition and pieces with lower gold content are being produced to fill that void.
In the Middle East, regional jewelry demand was flat but, on a country-by-country basis, there were marked differences, the WGC said.
In Egypt, demand was down 20 percent to hit a new low at 4.7 tons, while demand in Iran was up 15 percent to 10.2 tons. A dip in the local price of the metal in Turkey, meanwhile, triggered a 20 percent year-over-year increase in demand.