World demand for gold fell last year, hurt by weak consumption in China and India, the biggest markets for the yellow metal.
Consumption came in at 3,924 tons compared with 4,088 tons in the previous year, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing the World Gold Council (WGC).
However, demand recovered toward the end of the year, with fourth-quarter consumption up 6 percent to 988 tons compared with the same period in 2013.
WGC managing director Marcus Grubb said 2014 was a “year of stabilization” after record buying in 2013.
The market is still recovering from the second quarter of 2013 when the largest annual decline in the price of gold in more than 30 years sparked a surge in demand, particularly from Indian and Chinese buyers in search of bargains.
As a result, demand in 2013 hit a record high of 4,088 tons, the report said
At the same time, the strengthening United States economy and a robust US dollar made the precious metal more expensive for investors holding other currencies.
China and India together make up roughly half of global demand but buying was down sharply last year.
In India, consumption fell 14 percent to 843 tons. China was down a whopping 38 percent to 814 tons.
Jewelry demand, which accounts for about two-thirds of the total, was down 10 percent last year.
But it was up 19 percent in India where people splurged on items for festivals and weddings.
Chinese jewelry demand, however, fell by about a third.
WGC said a surge in consumption in 2013 exhausted demand, leading to the slump last year.
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