In 2010 investment demand for gold totalled 1,333 tonnes. This is 995 tonnes for bars and coins and 338 tonnes were purchased by exchange traded funds and similar products (Gold Bullion Securities, SPDR Gold Shares, Central Fund of Canada etc.). Compared to 2009, gold demand was down by 2 per cent in terms of quantity, but rose 23 per cent in value terms. In 2006 – 2007 private investors held accumulated for the first time more gold than all central banks together.
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Central banks, international entities (e.g. International Monetary Fund) and governments are the single largest holder of gold in the world. These institutions controlled end of 2009 16.2 per cent (26,780 tons) of the worldwide available gold. All ever produced gold is estimated to be 165,000 tons (5.321 billon ounces). This corresponds to a market value of 7,950 billion US dollar, based on a gold value of 1427 dollar per ounce.
These are the central banks and institutions with the top 20 gold reserves:
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In 2010, gold processed to jewelry accounted for 54 per cent of all gold purchases, making jewelry the biggest contributor to gold demand. That is a rise of 17 per cent from 2009 to 2010. The increase is even more remarkable, as the gold price increased in the same period by 26 per cent. The biggest buyer of gold for jewelry is India, with 745 tonnes, followed by China (400 tonnes) and the United States (128 tonnes).
Gold has been used for jewelry for 6,000 years. The reasons are its rarity, ease of mechanical processing, resistance to corrosion and its exceptional color.
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Between 10 and 15 per cent of the annual gold production is used in the industry.
From 2008 until 2009 industrial demand for gold dropped by 13 per cent.
In 2010 the gold supply stood at 4108 tonnes (2659 tons from mine production, neg. 116 tons hedging, 87 tonnes central banks sellings and 1653 gold recycling). Demand from industry was 420 tonnes, or 10 per cent. This is 287 tonnes for the electronics industry, 50 tonnes for dentistry, and 83 tons for other industrial purposes. In contrast, jewellery demand stood at 2060 tonnes.
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From 1900 until 2010, that is 110 years, world gold production has been steadily risen, except for four periods. See chart for historical world gold production numbers:
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Gold is a rare metal. All extracted and still available gold has a total weight of 165 thousand tons. If the precious metal were melted into a cube, it would measure only 20 meter (65.6ft) into each direction.
The Forbes Global 2000 includes 12 gold companies. The biggest is the US Newmont Mining; six are from Canada, two from South Africa, and one from Australia, Peru and Russia (see table).
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