Q1 saw demand at 1,034.5t, an 18% year-on-year decline exacerbated by comparison with Q1 2016, which was the strongest ever first quarter.
Global jewellery demand for gold remained nearly flat at 480.9 tonnes but below the five-year quarterly average. "The weakness we were looking for in gold has materialized and we do think that current prices represent a good entry point for risk overlay trades", analysts at the bank said. The WGC anticipates that central bank gold demand will remain low throughout the year, and notes that central banks have been buying less gold since mid-2014.
Gold prices in India have been at a premium over the last couple of weeks due to stronger demand for the annual Hindu and Jain holy festival of Akshaya Tritiya and the recent dip in global rates have further boosted the appetite."The price correction is attracting retail buyers".
When see from a value perspective, the demand increased 18 percent to Rs 32,420 crore from Rs 27,540 crore in in the corresponding period past year, according to the World Gold Council (WGC) that released its "Gold Demand Trends" report on Thursday.
Gold demand was up 15 per cent in the quarter ended March, at 123 tonnes, against 107 tonnes logged in the same period a year ago, largely due to stable prices and a lower base.
Central bank demand continued to slow, with 76 tonnes added to reserves, and this was down 27% from a year ago.
Demand for gold in India during Q1 2017 was at 123.5 tonnes against the 107.3 tonnes in Q1 2016.
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The rising gold price was negative for demand, although one or two sharp pullbacks in gold were used as buying opportunities in some markets.
Inflows into gold-backed ETFs of 109.1t were concentrated in Europe.
China led the way on the private investment front, with Chinese bar and coin demand surging 30% to 106 t, fuelled by concerns over potential currency weakness and a frothy property market.
The demand for jewellery in the January-March quarter was slightly up at 481 tonnes compared to the same quarter in 2016.
"Elsewhere the picture was less rosy; central bank demand was down and jewellery demand is still in the doldrums", Hewitt said. "At 283.0 tonnes, recycling is below its long-run average (since Q1 2000) of 296.2 tonnes", says the WGC.
You can follow the World Gold Council on Twitter at @goldcouncil and Like on Facebook. He said the rupee appreciation protected Indian households from the hike in dollar prices, giving them an additional reason to meet the gold demand that was created in 2016, following demonetisation and other regulatory measures against unaccounted wealth. We provide insights into the worldwide gold markets, helping people to understand the wealth preservation qualities of gold and its role in meeting the social and environmental needs of society.