Recently I was reading about the exciting news of Gold prices going through the roof. Initially at Rs.16,000 then at Rs.17,000 and Rs.18,000 and now at Rs.19,000. All the news media made exciting presentation of world crisis, dollar relation, euro crisis, RBI buying gold and every thing they could find.
But, an observation that I’ve made is everybody is forgetting the most important factor of all – THE SUPPLY SIDE.
The over-all global demand for Gold has slumped by 25% in the first quarter of 2010 on the back of plunge in investment-led demand for Gold triggered by rising prices across the globe.
None of the media folks are talking about the supply side problems and its effect on present rise in Gold. I was doing a little bit of exercise recently and came up with many interesting facts.
Some Interesting Facts on Gold Market
1) The Most Interesting Fact:
Which country is the largest producer of Gold now? Your guess – South Africa? Wrong! It’s actually China. China mines gold to the extent of almost a tenth of the world’s supply.
In the year 2008, China has surpassed South Africa to become the world’s largest Gold producer. Since 2007, South Africa’s production of Gold has been declining on account of depletion of gold reserves in the mines, even as the production in China increased.
South Africa has now slipped to fourth position on the global production ranking.
2) Depleting Gold Reserves in the Mines:
World’s major Gold producing countries (7 out of 8, except China) have seen decline in production of Gold. The days of finding Gold Nuggets each weighing a pound in California is over. All the major countries have seen the output from the ore drop – from double digit grams per ton to less than 3 grams per ton.
3) The Glitter Comes At a Cost:
Out of all the Gold mined till date, 50% was mined since 1980. 80% was mined since 1900. The production of Gold in China has risen by 70% over the last 10 years. From these figures you can see how we have accelerated the pace of Gold mining. As the metal is scarce by nature, with massive production, remaining mines are few and expensive to produce.
4) Gold as a Commodity:
Predictions are that after 2020, the world gold production will decline. Just like crude oil and other minerals, even Gold is not an exception and has a plateau in terms of production and then a decline. All the global nations have failed in identifying new mines. Production from existing mines is going down on two issues – Deeper and deeper mining and less and less metal per ton of ore.
So, all the world countries have to manage with what ever is already available. Hence, the demand for Gold in future will be so massive, and the intelligent Governments (like China, India) are pooling as much Gold as possible as a part of their reserve portfolio.
5. China’s Increasing Pace of Gold Consumption:
By 2014, China will overtake India as the largest user of Gold (as opposed to investment-led demand), with change in standard of living. Chinese people are increasingly buying Gold jewellery and that the Chinese exports of Gold could gradually come down, even as their production keeps going up.
The consumer demand for Gold in India for the first quarter of this year was nearly 193 tons, pointing towards a strongest market for Gold jewellery and coins. Comparatively, the Chinese consumer demand for gold stands at 105 tons.
Now again if you start thinking from the beginning, like Gold breaching 19,000, euro crisis, dollar equation, you will find all these reasons silly in front of the major factors like Supply side. Yet, macro-environment factors can have near-term sentimental impact even as longer duration dynamics will be dictated by demand-supply scenario.
Will Gold prices surpass Rs.20000 in the near term? What’s your view?