While many financial pundits continue to label this week's massive gold plunge "the end of the bull market" in precious metals - retail demand for physical gold hints at a completely different story.
Countries with fond appreciation of gold were out in full force over the week, buying as much gold that was physically available for purchase. Bombay Bullion Association President Mohit Khamboj predicted sales of 4 tons on Tuesday and Wednesday and was expecting sales of 3 tons on Thursday alone.
In Turkey, where we've reported in the past of massive demand for gold coins, there has been a complete lack of supply with the Turkish mint incapable of keeping up with demand. At the Turkish Grand Bazaar, where some 3,000 jewelers are on hand, reports of a lack of stock have been common and the limited available supply is sold at high premiums placing gold at $1,500 per ounce.
The first 12 days of April saw sales of 3.1 tons of gold, but the recent gold crash coupled with the start of the gold buying season in Turkey has pushed demand to astronomic heights. Just Monday and Tuesday alone, the Turkish mint reported orders placed equaling 8.1 tons.
In the U.S, a general lack of silver has been reported throughout the supply chain and gold sales in April have already eclipsed the total of the previous two months combined. Just on Wednesday, 2 tons of gold were sold bringing the April total to 5.3 tons.
On the other side of the pacific, Australian Treasurer Nigel Moffatt admits that "the volume of business that we're putting through is way in excess of double what we did last week,"
In China, where gold figures are hard to come by, one housewife in Guangzhou was reported as having walked out of the store with 20 kilograms in bullion. But widespread reports investors indicate that it wasn't just the wealthy flocking to stores, but eager investors included "farmers, pork traffickers, fishmongers".
With paper markets and physical markets telling two completely different stories, it's hard to tell which direction gold will head next. What is clear though is that a growing disparity exists between the sentiment witnessed at the COMEX and gold ETFs in contrast to the interest shown by central bankers and now retail physical investors. The war between paper vs. physical gold is just warming up.