Demand for Gold in Tech Sector Rebounds After Lockdowns
Gold demand in the technology sector rebounded rapidly in 2021 after falling the prior year due to economic lockdowns and the pandemic.
In 2021, tech sector gold demand grew by 9% to 330 tons with year-on-year growth in all four quarters, according to data from the World Gold Council. Tech demand in 2021 was about equal to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
The bulk of industrial gold demand comes from the electronics sector. It bounced back from the impact of the pandemic, growing by 9% to 272 tons last year. Demand in Q4 came in at 71 tons. It was the first time we’ve seen demand in the electronics sector exceed 70 tons in the fourth quarter since 2017.
Gold used in other industrial applications grew 12% to 47 tons.
According to the WGC, 2021 can broadly be considered a year of a strong recovery in the technology sector, but it has not been without its challenges.
The pandemic continued to impact both supply and demand across all technology sectors. Many large manufacturers have had to inject ingenuity and agility into their operations to cope with a range of situations, including sudden localized lockdowns and energy rationing. The electronics industry has been particularly vulnerable to these events given its reliance on vast fabrication plants, and stories of entire chip manufacturing operations temporarily relocating have not been uncommon during the last two years.”
From time to time, you will hear people inexplicably say, “Gold is just a useless metal.” They claim that gold’s value is simply “a matter of faith.”
This is sheer nonsense.
In fact, gold is one of the most useful metals on the planet and would probably have even more practical applications if it wasn’t so rare and expensive. The truth is gold did not become money because it wasn’t useful for anything else. Its role as money actually evolved because it is so valuable and has so many uses.
For instance, gold was an integral component in the mirrors on the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
Gold has also enjoyed a growing role in healthcare. The yellow metal is used in a large number of diagnostic tools and is of increasing interest to companies developing innovative new ways to treat disease.
Some uses for gold in medicine sound like something right out of a science fiction film. A team of Chinese researchers announced they were able to partially restore the sight of blind mice by replacing their deteriorated photoreceptors – sensory structures inside the eye that respond to light – with nano-wires made of gold and titanium.
Ultimately, gold is money, but it serves many other useful purposes and that’s part of what gives it enduring value.