The World Gold Council reports that gold imports by Asian nations in the second quarter of 2013 will hit an all-time record for April-June imports.
Much of this can be attributed to the mid-April "paper panic" in the U.S. and Europe, which triggered a worldwide frenzy in the physical market. Asia was already the largest importer of physical gold, and the $200 price drop released a tidal wave of pent-up demand from people who were not normally gold buyers. The price drop also coincided with the spring festival and wedding season in India, much to the delight of parents.
Managing director of the World Gold Council Marcus Grubb notes "Even if ETF outflows continue in the United States, it is quite likely that the gold previously held in ETFs will find a ready market among Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern consumers who are taking a long-term view on the prospects of gold."
India had gold bar and coin demand of 97 tonnes in the first quarter, a 52% rise from 2012. Gold jewelry demand was 160 tonnes. The WGC expects Q2 Indian gold imports to total 350-400 tonnes, almost half of the total for all of 2012.
In China, gold bar and coin imports set a quarterly record in Q1 of 109.5 tonnes, and jewelry imports was 185 tonnes. Net gold imports for April was 160 to 170 tonnes, only one month into the second quarter.