Demand For Gold Investment Jumped by Almost 100% Year-on-year
Unlike stock, banknotes, or other assets, gold has managed to maintain its value through the years, preserving the investors’ wealth, especially in times of turmoil in the financial markets. Although many investors value the precious metal as an important portfolio asset, the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in global demand for investment gold.
According to data presented by Aksje Bloggen, the global demand for investment gold reached 582.9 metric tons in the second quarter of 2020, an almost 100% jump year-on-year.
Record Levels of Gold Investments in 2020
In 2016, the global gold demand amounted to 4,309 metric tons, revealed Statista and the World Gold Council data. By the end of 2019, this figure rose to 4,356 metric tons, and investment gold accounted for 30% of that amount. Worldwide gold jewelry demand volumes reached 2,118 metric tons last year. Central banks and technology followed with 648 and 326 metric tons, respectively.
However, statistics indicate the global demand for investment gold continued rising amid the COVID-19 outbreak, while the demand for gold used for technology and jewelry purposes dropped significantly.
In the second quarter of 2020, the global gold jewelry demand amounted to 251.5 metric tons, a 52% plunge year-on-year. Demands for gold used in technology dropped by 17% to 66.6 metric tons in the second quarter of the year. Central banks and other institutions bought 114.7 metric tons of gold in the second quarter of 2020, a 50% plunge year-on-year.
Statistics indicate the global demand for gold for investment purposes hit a record-breaking 1,152 metric tons in the first half of 2020, the highest figure so far.
The Price of Gold Jumped 25% in 2020
The average gold value tends to increase during a recession, making it an attractive investment in uncertain times. In January 2018, a troy ounce of gold cost $1,331.30, revealed the Statista and World Gold Council data. After a slight drop during the third and fourth quarter of that year, it stood at $1,320.07 in February 2019. By the end of the last year, the price of gold rose to $1,479.13.
The gold price continued rising amid the coronavirus outbreak reaching $1,732.22 in June, a 17% increase in six months. Statistics indicate the price of gold stood at $1,964.30 at the end of the last week, a 25% jump since January.
Oil Prices Recover Slightly Amidst Demand Concerns in U.S. and China
Oil Prices Continue Slide as Market Skepticism Grows Over OPEC+ Cuts
Global oil markets witnessed a continued decline on Wednesday as investors assessed the impact of extended OPEC+ cuts against a backdrop of diminishing demand prospects in China.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, declined by 63 cents to $76.57 a barrel while U.S. WTI crude oil lost 58 cents to $71.74 a barrel.
Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed to maintain voluntary output cuts of approximately 2.2 million barrels per day through the first quarter of 2024.
Despite this effort to tighten supply, market sentiment remains unresponsive.
“The decision to further reduce output from January failed to stimulate the market, and the recent, seemingly coordinated, assurances from Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend the constraints beyond 1Q 2024 or even deepen the cuts if needed have also fallen to deaf ears,” noted PVM analyst Tamas Varga.
Adding to the unease, Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut its official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light to Asia in January for the first time in seven months raises concerns about the struggling demand for oil.
Amid the market turmoil, concerns over China’s economic health cast a shadow, potentially limiting fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.
Moody’s recent decision to lower China’s A1 rating outlook from stable to negative further contributes to the apprehension.
Analysts will closely watch China’s preliminary trade data, including crude oil import figures, set to be released on Thursday.
The outcome will provide insights into the trajectory of China’s refinery runs, with expectations leaning towards a decline in November.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia has added an extra layer of complexity to the oil market dynamics.
Discussions centered around the cooperation between Russia, the UAE, and OPEC+ in major oil and gas projects, highlighting the intricate geopolitical factors influencing oil prices.
U.S. Crude Production Hits Another Record, Posing Challenges for OPEC
U.S. crude oil production reached a new record in September, surging by 224,000 barrels per day to 13.24 million barrels per day.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a consecutive monthly increase, adding 342,000 barrels per day over the previous three months, marking an annualized growth rate of 11%.
The surge in domestic production has led to a buildup of crude inventories and a softening of prices, challenging OPEC⁺ efforts to stabilize the market.
Despite a decrease in the number of active drilling rigs over the past year, U.S. production continues to rise.
This growth is attributed to enhanced drilling efficiency, with producers focusing on promising sites and drilling longer horizontal well sections to maximize contact with oil-bearing rock.
While OPEC⁺ production cuts have stabilized prices at relatively high levels, U.S. producers are benefiting from this stability.
The current strategy seems to embrace non-OPEC non-shale (NONS) producers, similar to how North Sea producers did in the 1980s.
Saudi Arabia, along with its OPEC⁺ partners, is resuming its role as a swing producer, balancing the market by adjusting its output.
Despite OPEC’s inability to formally collaborate with U.S. shale producers due to antitrust laws, efforts are made to include other NONS producers like Brazil in the coordination system.
This outreach aligns with the historical pattern of embracing rival producers to maintain control over a significant share of global production.
In contrast, U.S. gas production hit a seasonal record high in September, reaching 3,126 billion cubic feet.
However, unlike crude, there are signs that gas production growth is slowing due to very low prices and the absence of a swing producer.
Gas production increased by only 1.8% in September 2023 compared to the same month the previous year.
While the gas market is in the process of rebalancing, excess inventories may persist, keeping prices low.
The impact of a strengthening El Niño in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean could further influence temperatures and reduce nationwide heating demand, impacting gas prices in the coming months.
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