Though many countries import gold for use in various industries, few can call themselves the top importers in the world. Things change rapidly in this sector as evidenced by one country easily surpassing another as the largest importer. Knowing who the largest importers are is important for those who buy gold coins because it helps them identify where to find great deals.
India is a prime example of how drastically imports fluctuate. In 2008, India was the largest gold importer worldwide, brining in 420 tons of the precious metal. Just one year later, imports totaled only slightly more than 200 tons, a decline of more than 100 percent. High prices of gold coins, which decreased demand, were to blame. China easily slid into the top gold importer spot in 2009.
Since that time, Slovakia has come onto the scene as a high-volume gold importer. In 2010, it imported 986 tons of gold, according to the International Trade Centre. This made it the largest importer and Egypt and Malaysia occupied the number two and three positions ahead of the U.S., which imported 656 tons last year.
In 2010, China imported 228 tons and India brought in just 169 tons. The steadily increasing price of gold has made it unfeasible for many countries to continue the level of importing from prior years. As gold prices continue to climb, it will be interesting to see which country ends up in the top position for 2011.
It is worth noting that being a large consumer of gold does not necessarily mean the country is a large importer. India consumes the most gold of all countries, accounting for about 20 percent of worldwide demand for the precious metal. It also has the largest gold jewelry market in the world and despite the increase in gold price, this market increased 67 percent year-over-year during the first half of 2010.