Rapid growth in the economies of India and China has been accompanied by an equally rapid increase in demand for gold jewellery in those countries. Today, India is the world’s largest market for gold jewellery, representing about 746 tonnes of gold in 2010; an increase in volume year on year of 39.5%. This reflects both the increased wealth of the country and the huge cultural and social significance of gold among Indians, and particularly Indian women.
Indian women are estimated to hold about 18,000 tonnes of gold in jewellery form. When contrasted with the 8,600 tonnes estimated to be in the US national gold reserve, this illustrates both the scale of the demand for gold jewellery in India and the massive purchasing power of Indian women. It also signifies the cultural significance of gold in India, where it plays an important role at weddings and other celebrations.
China is the fastest-growing market for gold jewellery in the world; it grew 20.5% in volume in 2010, accounting for 400 tonnes of demand. More than 80% of gold jewellery in China is made from pure 24 carat gold.