Asian Gold Demand Should Boost Prices Next Year

12/13/2013 12:00 pm EST

Focus: COMMODITIES

Royston Wild

Equity Market Sector Correspondent, Shares Magazine

Next year could prove to have a significant impact of the price of numerous commodities, including one in particular, writes Royston Wild of The Motley Fool UK, who thinks demand in the Far East is set to boom.

2014 has proven to be a watershed year for gold. Not only is the multi-year Bull Run, dating back to 2001, set to come to an end, but physical demand for the lustrous metal has also punched record levels, particularly from exciting developing markets.

And I believe that a blend of swirling macroeconomic uncertainty, combined with resilient jewelry consumption, should drive prices higher once again, next year. If you share my enthusiasm and want to bet on a rising gold price, then exchange-traded funds (ETFs) SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) and Gold Bullion Securities (LSS:GBS) are a great way to play the gold market.

Look East for the future of gold demand

The latest quarterly trends report from the World Gold Council (WGC) showed global demand for bars, coins, and jewelry surged more than a quarter, in the first nine months of 2013, to a record 2,896.5 tonnes. This eye-watering growth was put down to swelling demand from Asia and the Middle East—regions that were responsible for 90% of the 600-tonne increase.

The organization attributed this to lower gold prices, strong brand promotion in these geographies, and improved signs for the global economy, due to bullish economic data from the US. Although the global economic picture remains fragile, the same drivers that pushed gold consumption higher during January-September remain in place and could underpin further strength in 2014 and beyond.

Furthermore, the WGC noted that demand for gold of a higher carat has also risen across the world, underlining the metal's appeal as an investment asset, as well as, an aesthetic and sentimental item. As loose monetary policy across the globe, exacerbated by rolling quantitative easing in the US, looks set to reign well into the new year and drive inflationary fears skywards—demand for the golden hard currency should remain bubbly.

Chinese inflows continue to climb

And future demand growth, from emerging regions, looks likely to continue to be led by China, which is rapidly usurping India as the world's number one gold market.

Latest trade data showed imports from Hong Kong rise to more than 131.2 tonnes in October, the second highest on record, after March's record high, Reuters reported. Total imports during January-October came in at 986 tonnes, double the amount seen during the corresponding 2012 period.

In my opinion, the classic fundamentals of rising populations in these emerging regions, combined with a rising middle class, and with it, disposable income levels, should shuttle physical gold demand higher well into the future.

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