Gold consumption: India could retain lead over China this year
Gold consumption: India could retain lead over China this yearReuters

India is expected to remain the world's leading gold consumer in 2015, after reclaiming the top spot from China in 2014, driven by strong jewellery demand, according to the the World Gold Council (WGC).

Gold demand in both India and China is expected to rise between 900 and 1,000 tonnes this year, but India could retain its edge, the industry group forecast on 12 February, Reuters reported.

The two nations accounted for over half of the global gold demand in 2014.

Indian consumer demand for gold jewellery and investment totalled 842.7 tonnes in 2014, as against China's 813.6 tonnes, according to WGC data.

The WGC, which published its 2014 Gold Demand Trends report on Thursday, said: "Indian demand for jewellery was up 8% to 662 tonnes [in 2014], the best year of jewellery demand since records began in 1995 [but] China's jewellery demand whilst down 33% was still the second best on record.

"There was also strong jewellery demand in the UK and US, driven by improved economic performance, up 18% to 28 tonnes and 9% to 132 tonnes respectively.

"However, [global] jewellery demand fell by 10% to 2,153 tonnes as China digested the record breaking levels of jewellery accumulated in 2013."

Marcus Grubb, managing director, Investment Strategy at the WGC, commented: "2014 was a year of stabilisation and innovation in the gold market, with annual gold demand down by just 4% after the record-breaking level of buying seen in 2013.

"It was a standout year for Indian jewellery, despite government restrictions on gold imports, reinforcing the nation's affinity with gold.

"Meanwhile Chinese gold demand returned to those last seen in 2011/2012 as consumers and investors took time to digest the substantial volumes accumulated in 2013," he added.