Looks like all those golden iPhones and gold-bar vending machines have literally tipped the scales. China recently beat out India to become the world’s largest gold consumer, adding to its title of “country with the highest number of tacky and unnecessary gold-painted structures.” WSJ reports:
Indian consumer demand for gold—defined by the WGC [World Gold Council] as jewelry, bars and coins acquired by individuals—slumped by 32% to 148.2 metric tons in the July-September period compared with a year earlier, while demand in China rose by 18% to 209.6 metric tons.
India and China combined account for about half of global gold demand, and buying patterns in both are closely tracked by investors, as they have a significant influence on prices. Other factors, such as the strength of the U.S. economy, its bond buying programs and international political news, also affect price movements.
In the year to Sept. 30, Chinese and Indian demand stood at 797.8 tons and 715.7 tons, respectively, the WGC said.
And considering that China seems to turn more things to gold than King Midas on speed, we’re not too surprised.