The over-all global demand for Gold has slumped by 25% in the first quarter of 2010 on the back of plunge in investment-led demand for Gold triggered by rising prices across the globe.
Some Interesting Facts on Gold Market...
1) The Most Interesting Fact:
Which country is the largest producer of Gold now? Your guess – South Africa? Wrong! It’s actually China. China mines gold to the extent of almost a tenth of the world’s supply.
In the year 2008, China has surpassed South Africa to become the world’s largest Gold producer. Since 2007, South Africa’s production of Gold has been declining on account of depletion of gold reserves in the mines, even as the production in China increased.
South Africa has now slipped to fourth position on the global production ranking.
2) Depleting Gold Reserves in the Mines:
World’s major Gold producing countries (7 out of 8, except China) have seen decline in production of Gold. The days of finding Gold Nuggets each weighing a pound in California is over. All the major countries have seen the output from the ore drop – from double digit grams per ton to less than 3 grams per ton.
3) The Glitter Comes At a Cost:
Out of all the Gold mined till date, 50% was mined since 1980. 80% was mined since 1900. The production of Gold in China has risen by 70% over the last 10 years. From these figures you can see how we have accelerated the pace of Gold mining. As the metal is scarce by nature, with massive production, remaining mines are few and expensive to produce.
4) Gold as a Commodity:
Predictions are that after 2020, the world gold production will decline. Just like crude oil and other minerals, even Gold is not an exception and has a plateau in terms of production and then a decline. All the global nations have failed in identifying new mines. Production from existing mines is going down on two issues – Deeper and deeper mining and less and less metal per ton of ore.
So, all the world countries have to manage with what ever is already available. Hence, the demand for Gold in future will be so massive, and the intelligent Governments (like China, India) are pooling as much Gold as possible as a part of their reserve portfolio.
5. China’s Increasing Pace of Gold Consumption:
By 2014, China will overtake India as the largest user of Gold (as opposed to investment-led demand), with change in standard of living. Chinese people are increasingly buying Gold jewellery and that the Chinese exports of Gold could gradually come down, even as their production keeps going up.
Interestingly, the consumer demand for Gold in India for the first quarter of this year was nearly 193 tons, pointing towards a strongest market for Gold jewellery and coins. Comparatively, the Chinese consumer demand for gold stands at 105 tons.
Ever wonder where the gold in your wedding ring came from? This Valentine's Day, we ask Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium, to explain the history of the rare element.
In the Beginning
According to Tyson, author of Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandries, all gold on Earth started out in the center of a star; he says stars are "in the business of cosmic alchemy."
When the universe began, there were only two kinds of atoms: hydrogen, which has one proton, and helium, which has two protons.
The problem was that hydrogen and helium couldn't combine to make a new kind of atom of three, four or five protons. The two atoms resisted each other because they were the same charge.
Unless, of course, it got very, very hot. How much heat would it take to get two protons to sit together?
About 10 million degrees, Tyson says. And that's where stars come in.
Stars like our sun are so hot that protons collide with such force and have no choice but to combine. It's called fusion. Inside the sun's furnace, protons turn into heavier and heavier atoms: Hydrogen atoms combine to become helium, and then those helium atoms combine to become carbon.
"It keeps going," Tyson says. "Carbon and oxygen and nitrogen and silicon, and [fusion] just plows its way up the periodic table of elements."
Carbon has six protons, nitrogen seven protons, oxygen eight protons. A hot star can cook all the way up to iron, a 26-proton atom. But that's where it stops.
"When you reach iron, nobody can do anything... It's dead matter. You can't fusion it. You can't fission it," Tyson explains.
Once a star has converted all its atoms into iron, it's out of fuel.
"That's a bad day for the star," Tyson says. "And at that moment, the entire star collapses, and in that collapse, the star reaches stratospheric temperatures and blows its guts to smithereens."
The Collapsing Star
A collapsing star is called a supernova. The explosion is so powerful and cataclysmic that you can see it across the universe.
Supernovae outshine whole galaxies, because the atoms inside are colliding furiously, creating intense heat — hundreds of millions of degrees.
Only in a supernova is it possible to create atoms with 30 protons, 40 protons, 50 protons or even 60 protons. Nature prefers even numbers for stability, but every so often, the star will forge an odd-numbered atom, a real rarity: gold!
Gold is a rare, odd-numbered atom with 79 protons. For every single gold atom in the universe, there are 1 million iron atoms, Tyson says.
A Long Journey
After the explosion, those few gold atoms are cast deep into the universe where they sit in empty space for eons. Eventually, some of the atoms may join a cloud. That cloud may condense into a planet.
Once inside a planet, some of the atoms may make it near the surface where we can come and dig them up.
So every atom of gold in your wedding ring was forged in a collapsing star, and then traveled across the universe to get to your finger. All the gold we wear and all the gold we give has made this same journey.
So how many miles and how many years are represented in a ring?
Calculating the path from several supernovae around our galaxy back to our solar system, Tyson concludes, all told, it's a journey of 3 million light years.