From the bazaars of New Delhi to the upmarket boutiques of Beijing, consumers in some Asian cities gave a big boost to demand for gold jewelry in 2010.
The World Gold Council says that global demand for jewelry fashioned out of the metal jumped 18% in the first nine months of 2010, mostly thanks to the key Asian markets of India, Hong Kong and China, as well as Russia and Turkey. In the West, consumption was more or less flat — gold-jewelry sales in the U.S. were down 8% from the year-earlier period, according to the report, partly because of inventory controls by mass retailers in anticipation of the holiday season (and to take advantage of a rise in the gold price at the end of the year).
In India — generally the world’s top market for gold jewelry — consumption in the first three quarters of 2010 was 513.5 metric tons, up 73% from the same period the year before, when fears about the global economic downturn loomed. Indian buyers splurged on gold bracelets, chains, rings and more as the country “benefitted from continued economic growth and periods of rupee appreciation against the U.S. dollar,” the WGC says.