China purchased 18% less gold in Q1 than it did one year ago, according to the World Gold Council, including a 55% slump in gold bar and coin purchases. The world's 2nd biggest buyer, India purchased 26% less than a year ago.
The selling wasn't just limited to emerging markets - physical demand for gold fell 52% Y/Y to a four-year low, according to the WGC. The flip-side: Investor selling (ETFs) essentially came to a halt. It's the opposite of last year where physical buyers stepped in to pick up the metal as investors unloaded.