A surge in gold purchases by central banks to the highest since 1967 helped push global demand for the metal up 4 percent last year, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Thursday.
The world consumed 4,345.1 tons of gold in 2018, up from 4,159.9 tonnes in 2017, the WGC said in its latest quarterly demand trends report.
Driving the increase were central banks which bought 651.5 tons - 74 percent more than in 2017 and the second highest annual total on record - as countries including China and Poland joined Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan in adding to their reserves, the WGC said.
Jewelry demand was relatively unchanged at 2,200 tons, with rising consumption in China, the United States and Russia offsetting a steep decline in the Middle East and a very slight fall in India.
Retail investment in gold bars and coins grew 4 percent to 1,090.2 tons - helped by a sharp 222-percent rise in demand in Iran to almost 62 tons, according to the WGC.