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Record gold prices boost recycling: industry

Gold struck a record-peak at $2,431.52 per ounce on April 12
Gold struck a record-peak at $2,431.52 per ounce on April 12 - Copyright AFP/File STR
Gold struck a record-peak at $2,431.52 per ounce on April 12 - Copyright AFP/File STR
Emeline BURCKEL

Record gold prices have sent recycling of the precious metal to the highest level in more than three years, as consumers cash in on jewellery, an industry body revealed Tuesday.

The World Gold Council (WGC) added, however, that total demand for gold dropped five percent in the first quarter year-on-year as it became too expensive for some.

Gold, seen as a haven investment, has seen its price jump 13 percent since the start of 2024. It struck a record-peak at $2,431.52 per ounce on April 12.

Prices hit new heights thanks to a number of factors, notably the prospect of cuts to US interest rates, even if they may be some time away.

Expectations of reduced borrowing costs have weighed on the dollar, while gold is priced in the US unit.

The metal has won support also from the Israel-Gaza war and the long-lasting conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

– ‘Infinitely recyclable’ –

The WGC noted a 12-percent increase in recycling during the reporting period, the highest amount since the end of 2020.

“Unlike many other metals, gold is kind of almost infinitely recyclable,” said Krish Gopaul at the WGC.

“Historically, there’s a strong relationship between the gold price and recycling, understandably when prices are going up, people will tend to sell their gold holdings or a portion of them to kind of lock in the higher price,” he told AFP following release of the quarterly report.

At the same time, he said “the macroeconomic and uncertainty in a number of markets caused people to actually hold to their gold”. 

For those wishing to get their hands on the metal, demand in Asia offset falls in Europe and North America.

“In addition, demand for gold in technology recovered 10 percent year-on-year driven by the AI boom in the electronics sector,” the WGC said.

Louise Street, senior markets analyst at the WGC, said that “looking ahead, 2024 is likely to produce a much stronger return for gold than we anticipated at the beginning of the year, based on its recent performance.

“Should the price level off in the coming months, some price-sensitive buyers may re-enter the market and investors will continue to look to gold for a safe haven asset as they seek clarity around rate cuts and election results,” she added.

The year sees numerous votes around the world to elect prime ministers and presidents, including upcoming elections due in Britain and the United States.

Among national elections so far in 2024 have been Pakistan, Russia and Senegal, while India is holding its six-week-long polls.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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