But that’s chump change compared to China, which gobbled up more than 1,120 tons of gold last year. That’s 2.24 million pounds, or $35.84 billion worth of the yellow metal.
China’s hunger for gold was ahead of India, which has in recent years been the biggest buyer of gold. Even in second place, Indian consumers bought nearly 975 tons of gold.
Said the Los Angeles Times:
Consumers bought a record 3,863.5 tons of gold jewelry, coins and bars worldwide last year, up 21 percent from 2012, according to data released Tuesday by the World Gold Council, a market development organization for the industry.
Demand was up 32 percent in China. … in India, demand was up 13 percent. U.S. consumers bought 190.3 tons, an increase of 18 percent from 2012.
But the global growth in consumer purchases was offset by an outflow of 881 tons from exchange-traded funds. That was a key factor in reducing overall gold demand by 15 percent last year, the report said.
The Federal Reserve and other central banks also reduced their gold purchases. They bought 369 tons, down 32 percent from the previous year.