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Switzerland leads world gold trade and breaks record

Switzerland led the world gold trade in 2023 in both imports and exports.

Its exports grew at a year-on-year rate of 7%, to $106.997 billion.

Conversely, its imports grew 3% from 2022 to 2023, reaching $101,078 million.

Today, gold is used both as a commodity and as a store of value. 

As a commodity, it is sold as gold jewelry and as gold that has been transformed into industrial products

The second category includes gold reserves held by the official sector and private investors.

By value, Switzerland’s share of total world gold exports was 21.3% in 2022, while this ratio was 20.2% for imports.

World gold trade

Other major gold exporters last year were the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.

Other major importers include China, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

Historically, jewelry demand has represented the largest component of total gold demand. 

According to VanEck Merk Gold Trust, the total estimated above-ground gold holdings at the end of 2017 amounted to 6.1 billion ounces, and approximately half of the estimated total has been used in jewelry.

Jewelry

Since it is a soft metal, it is mixed with other metals to increase its durability and strength. 

Gold purity is measured in karats (K), with 24K being the purest gold. 

Globally, the average demand for gold jewelry has been around 70.4 million ounces per year between 2010 and 2023. 

Total annual jewelry demand amounted to 69.7 million ounces in 2023. 

What factors influence the demand for gold jewelry? Economic conditions, fashion trends, gold prices and changes in consumer preferences.

Gold jewelry demand, as a proportion of total gold demand, was 60.5% in 2013 before falling to 48.7% in 2023. 

In 2023, gold jewelry demand, as a proportion of total demand, increased 2.0% over 2022.