World Gold Council: Investor Interest In Gold Continues

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"Investor interest combined with greater confidence in jewelry purchases boosted gold in Q111."

Overall investor interest toward gold remained supportive for prices during the first quarter, said the World Gold Council Wednesday in its quarterly Gold Investment Digest report.

The investor interest, combined with greater confidence in jewelry purchases, enabled gold to bounce from a January decline and go on to post a quarterly gain before eventually hitting all-time highs in April, said the WGC.

Against a backdrop of uncertainty in global markets, gold was one of the least volatile commodities, with average annualized volatility of 13%, down from its historical 20-year average of 15.8%, the report said.

"Gold's performance in Q1 2011 was characterized by continued concerns over the global economy, which have led investors to become increasingly aware of gold's qualities as a preserver of wealth," said Juan Carlos Artigas, investment research manager at the World Gold Council.

"Our intelligence indicates that purchasing confidence in key jewelry markets, notably India and China, increased during the period, as price volatility declined and the dollar weakened against local currencies, resulting in a more measured price increase."

A key trend, according to the Gold Investment Digest, is a growing concern over global inflation, with comments by the Federal Reserve so far signaling an extended period of low interest rates, which is increasing inflation expectations for the U.S. Inflation in countries such as India and China remains high, and the threat of food price inflation is a growing concern for consumers around the world. In this environment, gold is providing a hedge that is not easily replicated by other assets, the WGC said.

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