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Gold is the oldest precious metal known to man and for thousands of years it has been valued as a global currency, a commodity, an investment and simply an object of beauty.

Major Characteristics

  • Gold (Chemical Symbol-Au) is primarily a monetary asset and partly a commodity.
  • Gold is the world's oldest international currency.
  • Gold is an important element of global monetary reserves.
  • With regards to investment value, more than two-thirds of gold's total accumulated holdings is with central banks' reserves, private players, and held in the form of high-karat jewellery.
  • Less than one-third of gold's total accumulated holdings are used as “commodity” for jewellery in the western markets and industry.

Demand and Supply Scenario

  • Gold demand in 2010 reached a 10-year high of 3,812.2 tonnes, worth US$150billon, as a result of;
    • Strong growth in jewellery demand;
    • The revival of the Indian market;
    • Strong momentum in Chinese gold demand and
    • A paradigm shift in the official sector, where central banks became net purchasers of gold for the first time in 21 years.
  • China was the world's largest gold producer with 340.88 tonnes in 2010, followed by the United States and South Africa.
  • In 2010, India was the world's largest gold consumer with an annual demand of 963 tonnes.
  • The total supply of gold coming onto the market in 2010 reached 4,108 tonnes, a rise of 2% from 2009 levels.

Global Scenario

  • London is the world’s biggest clearing house.
  • Mumbai is under India's liberalised gold regime.
  • New York is the home of gold futures trading.
  • Zurich is a physical turntable.
  • Istanbul, Dubai, Singapore, and Hong Kong are doorways to important consuming regions.
  • Tokyo, where TOCOM sets the mood of Japan.

Indian Scenario

  • India is the largest market for gold jewellery in the world. 2010 was a record year for Indian jewellery demand; at 745.7 tonnes, annual demand was 13% above the previous peak in 1998. In local currency terms, Indian jewellery demand more than doubled in 2010.
  • A 20% rise in the rupee price of gold combined with a 69% rise in the volume of demand, pushed up the value of gold demand by 101% to 1,342 billion. This compares with 2009 demand of 669 billon.
  • The rising price of gold, particularly in the latter half of 2010, created a 'virtuous circle' of higher price expectations among Indian consumers, which fuelled purchases, thereby further driving up local prices.

Factors Influencing the Market

  • Above ground supply of gold from central bank's sale, reclaimed scrap, and official gold loans.
  • Hedging interest of producers/miners.
  • World macroeconomic factors such as the US Dollar and interest rate, and economic events.
  • Commodity-specific events such as the construction of new production facilities or processes, unexpected mine or plant closures, or industry restructuring, all affect metal prices.
  • In India, gold demand is also determined to a large extent by its price level and volatility.

Measurement Weight Conversion Table

Convert from Convert To Multiply by
Troy ounces Grams 31.1035
Million ounces Tonnes 31.1035
Grams Troy ounces 0.0321507
Kilograms Troy ounces 32.1507
Tonnes Troy ounces 32,150.70
Kilograms Tolas 85.755
Kilograms Taels 26.7172
Kilograms Bahts 68.41
Troy ounces Grains 480.00
Troy ounces Avoirdupois ounces 1.09714
Troy ounces Penny weights 20.00
Avoirdupois ounces Troy ounces 0.911458
Short tonne Metric tonne 0.9072


Gold purity is measured in terms of karat and fineness:

Karat: pure gold is defined as 24 karat

Fineness: parts per thousand Thus, 18 karat = 18/24 of 1,000 parts = 750 fineness