Mumbai: India regained its top position from China as the biggest overall consumer of gold in the first nine months this year with a total consumption of 642 tonnes, a survey said.
China is trailing by just 63 tonnes at total consumption of 579 tonnes in the first nine months, according to GFMS Gold Survey Q3 2015 Review and Outlook.
In India, jewellery consumption increased by 5 per cent year-on-year to an estimated 193 tonnes in Q3 2015, the highest quarterly consumption since Q1 2011 and the highest third quarter demand since 2008, the report published by Thomson Reuters stated.
Retail investment rose 30 per cent year-on-year to 55 tonnes, the highest since Q4 2013.
The increase in demand in the third quarter is primarily attributed to the fall in local gold prices to the lowest since August 2011.
The total official gold imports to India in the third quarter increased by 23 per cent to 263 tonnes, which is the highest quarterly volume year-to-date.
In China, after a lacklustre second quarter this year, which was the lowest second quarter recorded since 2011, gold demand rebounded in the third quarter.
Total gold demand amounted to 196 tonnes for the period, a modest 3 per cent year-on-year improvement.
The improvement in gold demand during the third quarter was driven by factors like the yellow metal regaining its attractiveness as an alternative investment vehicle as investors turned cautious of the equity markets.
Demand for the precious metal, both in the form of jewellery and investment bars, picked up immediately after gold price breached USD 1,100 in mid-July, also helped by rise in seasonal demand, lead by Chinese Valentine's Day in August and the Autumn festival in September.
The official depreciation of the yuan, which was announced on August 11, also boosted gold demand.
On supply, the report said that according to estimates, global mine production remained broadly flat in the third quarter, up by less than 1 per cent year-on-year, with production provisionally estimated at 851 tonnes.