Who in the world owns, produces and consumes gold?

LE SCAN ECO – Even if it is far from its records, the precious metal remains an asset highly sought after by investors and still coveted by jewelers. Production, consumption, recycling …Le Figaro deciphers this atypical market for you.

Precious for jewelers, safe haven for investors. Gold is one of those metals with multiple caps. , between 2009 and 2011, the craze for the yellow metal seems to be waning. Lead by and less catastrophic global economic conditions,, very far from. According to the World Gold Council, global demand last year amounted to 3,923.7 tonnes, down 4% year on year.

Who are the main gold producing countries? Which country consumes the most? To supply which sector? And which central bank has the most in its safes? The following infographic will allow you to see it clearly.

?? Focus on recycling

One big thing happened last year in the gold market: the end of the recycling madness. This activity, which occupies an important place in the circuit of gold supply and demand, experienced a serious slowdown in 2014 according to the (WGC). The share of recycled gold in the global supply dropped to 26% or 1,122 tonnes from a total of 4,278 tonnes produced last year. This level, the lowest for seven years, is a far cry from the 42% (1,728 tonnes) reached in 2009, at the height of the global economic crisis.

In question: the improvement of the economic situation. “When a global economic crisis hits, individuals turn to gold, considered a very liquid asset, to collect money. The financial crisis in Asia in the late 1990s led to a 19% increase in gold recycling. That of 2008-2009 had a stronger impact, increasing recycling by 25%, ”notes the World Gold Council. The reverse is currently happening. The sluggish activity of gold buyback companies bears witness to this. While at the time when the prices of gold were touching record highs, several of them have now gone out of business. Cash4Gold.com is the most telling example: the company, which had offered itself a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl in 2009, filed for bankruptcy three years later ??

Recycling is also discouraged by, even if overall, individuals are more sensitive to the scale of crises than to prices. “Price changes play a less important role and account for only about 30% of changes in the share of recycled gold in a country’s total gold supply,” confirms the WGC.

Pollution, difficulty of extraction … the challenges facing recycling companies are enormous

In this context, it is difficult to see the recycling of gold picking up the slope this year. Will this activity find its salvation in the increase in the number of industrial products containing gold in circulation? The potential is in any case real. Circuit boards and mobile phones contain 200 to 350 grams of gold per tonne. In addition, the global volume of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is expected to increase by 6% annually, from 49 million tonnes in 2012 to 99 million in 2025, according to a study. from the Boston consulting group. But the challenges that await recycling companies are enormous: extraction difficulties (these industrial products can contain up to 60 different materials), pollution, multiplication of standards ??. Result: “the quantity of metal that could enter the recycling circuit is relatively low,” warns the World Gold Council. In 2012, this represented less than 400,000 tonnes. By 2025, this level will drop to just 1.9 million, or 2% of total waste.