Insights into the 2024 Gold Market: Recycling Surges and Mining Output Predictions

World Gold Day

Current Trends in Gold Prices


As of Wednesday, May 1, 2024, gold prices are stabilizing around $2300 per Troy ounce, close to the three-week highs despite a downturn in Western stock markets. This stability occurs as the market anticipates the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate statement and press conference, expected to adopt a ‘hawkish’ tone according to experts, following recent upticks in US inflation data.


A Boost in Scrap Gold Recycling and Mining Output


Record Levels of Gold Recycling


The first quarter of 2024 witnessed the highest total gold supply since 2016, driven significantly by elevated gold prices which spurred an increase in scrap and secondhand gold recycling. According to the World Gold Council, re-sales from jewelry and technology-use metal saw a 12.5% rise from the previous year, marking the highest level since Q3 2020. This peak in recycling occurred when global COVID-19 lockdown policies relaxed temporarily, allowing consumers to liquidate assets during the economic downturn.


Mining Sector on Track for Record Output


The mining sector also reported robust figures, with a 4.4% increase in mine supply year-on-year, setting a record for the first quarter and projecting that 2024 might surpass the full-year peak output of 3,656 tonnes set in 2018. Significant growth in gold mining was noted in Canada, Ghana, and Indonesia, with China also reporting a 5% increase in output. Despite these gains, the stock market value of Western-listed mining companies has not reflected this growth, showing an 8% increase in 2024, which is less than the rise in physical gold bullion prices.


Market Dynamics and Future Projections


Additional Supply and Market Adaptations


The consultancy Metals Focus, which contributes data on gold supply and demand trends for the World Gold Council, anticipates that the increasingly favorable price environment will encourage additional mining supply over the next two years, primarily from North America. Despite global increases in scrap gold flow, the rise has been modest relative to the rapid ascent in gold prices. Notably, significant recycling activities were observed in almost all markets and regions during the first quarter of 2024.


Consumer and Industrial Responses


In the United States, recycling volumes saw only a marginal increase, contrasting sharply with the ‘cash4gold’ trend during the global financial crisis. The uptick was primarily driven by trade flows rather than retail, with jewelry stores offloading excess inventory at new record-high prices. Meanwhile, in China, which remains the top gold consumer globally, household gold selling has notably increased, reflecting a slowdown in new jewelry purchases as rapidly rising prices foster a wait-and-see attitude among potential buyers.


Mining Industry Outlook


The new mining projects coming online are expected to have long mine lives and competitive costs, making them resilient through various gold price cycles. Despite record-high costs providing the industry a significant profit margin of 46.9% in Q4 2023, analysts from S&P Global’s Commodity Insights predict a decline in all-in sustaining costs (AISC) for the largest Western-listed mining firms over the next five years. This forecast could act as a catalyst for improved stock market performance, although gold production per share has nearly halved over the past 15 years.




As the gold market in 2024 shows signs of both robust supply dynamics and intricate consumer behaviors, stakeholders from miners to investors and recyclers must navigate these complex trends carefully. The industry’s response to global economic pressures, consumer demand shifts, and technological advancements will undoubtedly shape the future landscape of gold trading and investment. As we continue to monitor these developments, the interplay between increased supply potential and market reactions will be critical to understanding the overall trajectory of the gold market this year.


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