2013 was 'year of the consumer,' World Gold Council says

Institutional investors may not have been too keen on gold last year but other consumers certainly were: According to the World Gold Council's (WGC) 2013 report, global consumer demand for gold hit unprecedented levels in 2013.

Bar and coin demand hit a record year and was 28% higher than in 2012.

But with the outflow of 881 tonnes from western ETFs and a contraction in central bank buying, global gold demand was 15% lower in 2013 than the year before. For the fourth consecutive year, central banks continue to be net buyers of gold.

"Taken together, the statistics demonstrate the resilience of the gold market and the unique nature of gold as an asset class, rebalancing to reflect the economic environment,” Marcus Grubb, managing director, investment strategy at WGC wrote in a news release.

2013 gold demand

As expected, China was the world's largest gold market in 2013.

"Chinese and Indian investment in gold bars and coins was up 38% and 16%, respectively," according to the WGC.

In Turkey, coin and bar demand shot up 113%.

Last year was the "year of the consumer" for gold, the WGC writes, as consumers around the world took advantage of lower prices to stock up on the precious metal.

Even in India, where the government and central bank fought hard to curb gold imports, demand for bars and coins was strong. Not including imports from smuggling, India brought in 975 tonnes of the yellow metal in 2013 compared to 846 tonnes in 2012; unofficial imports almost doubled, the WGC estimates.

Demand from the technology sector remained steady while jewellery demand rose by 17%.

World Gold Council's Marcus Grubb comments on 2013 global gold demand.

Click here to access the Full Year 2013 Gold Demand Trends report from the World Gold Council.