Excluding scrap, 2008’s decline was even steeper at almost 20 percent, with the first half loss ramping up to over a third. The second half, however, still managed a rise, if only a modest one.
The decline in jewellery fabrication demand was not limited to just historically price-sensitive regions, with western markets also suffering a significant downturn
India remained the chief architect of the global decline, with offtake from the world’s largest gold market slipping almost 100 tonnes on price pressures while jewellery fabrication in Italy fell by almost a fifth, the tenth consecutive year of contraction that has seen fabrication volumes fall to roughly a third of the peak of 1998.
Demand in the Middle East slipped around 10 percent, with the bulk of the fall attributable to Turkey due to a slump in the local economy and a significant rise in the local price due to currency weakness.
The only obvious positive last year was the modest rise in Chinese jewellery fabrication, in the process establishing yet another record, firmly placing China as the world’s second largest market behind India.
The increase was driven largely by robust local consumption and a rise in the renminbi, coupled with a significant surge in investment driven purchases.
Losses elsewhere across East Asia were comparatively restrained, with the whole region’s jewellery offtake only just slipping.
Looking ahead to this year, price and economic recovery will remain the key drivers in determining the performance of global jewellery fabrication markets.
Already in 2009, GFMS has witnessed a sizable slump in jewellery offtake as economic uncertainty and elevated gold prices continue to impact on end-user demand.