Global gold sales fell 10 percent year on year to 993 tonnes in the third quarter of the year, as high gold prices discouraged consumers, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Gold Council.
The total gold supply grew 4 percent year on year to 1,173 tonnes in the third quarter.
Investors continued to build up strategic allocations of gold via exchange-traded products (ETPs) during July-September, due to global political uncertainty and negative interest rate policies.
A third successive quarter of growth in ETPs brought cumulative inflows to 725 tonnes in 2016 to date.
China and India, two major gold markets, reported steep declines in gold consumption during the period, falling 22 percent and 28 percent, respectively.
A sluggish economy, lower household incomes and rising housing costs mean Chinese households preferred to build cash buffers, which accounted for the fall in gold consumption in the third quarter, said Ronald Wang, China managing director of the World Gold Council.
"However, we are still upbeat about China's gold market in the mid-and-long term," Wang added.
The fourth quarter started on a more positive note in China, due to a price drop in early October. Consumers were swift to respond to lower prices and remained alert to any further buying opportunities, according to the report.