Gold demand for jewelry fell 21 percent year-over-year to 445.4 metric tons for the first quarter of 2008—the lowest quarterly level on record since the early 1990s, according to the quarterly Gold Demand Trends report from the World Gold Council.
In dollar terms, however, it was up 12 percent to $13.2 billion.
Analysts said that the rising price of the metal had hurt jewelry demand.
India, the largest market for gold and also the most price-sensitive, continued to suffer from the impact of high and volatile prices, according to the WGC report.
Positive news came from two of the world’s biggest emerging economies with overall demand for gold in China and Russia, up 15 percent and 9 percent, respectively, driven by increasing consumer wealth and the ease of access to attractive jewelry and retail investment products, according to the report.
Overall, gold demand fell 16 percent to a five-year low of 701 tons in the first quarter of 2008 as the rapid run-up in prices crimped the buying of physical stocks of the metal, according to the WGC report.