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Though the United States spends more money on gold from Europe and Asia, gold from Latin America represents a higher proportion of the total weight of gold imported into the U.S. This suggests that a higher volume of cheaper gold is coming in through those nations.
Source: U.S. Geological Survey, 2016 U.N. Commodities Trade Statistics
While the unit price of gold from Latin American countries, based on import data, is cheaper than gold from other nations, on the whole, gold prices have been a dramatic rise in the past few decades, peaking in 2012.
These trends are perhaps unsurprising, given recent reporting on gold smuggling. As gold prices rise, narco-traffickers are incentivized to launder their money through gold mine operations and place themselves within the supply chain that leads back into the United States.
Aside from gold bullion bars, 34% of gold ended up in electronics last year (USGS Gold Commodity Summary, 2018). The proportion of gold going towards this purpose has increased in the past few years. As recently as 2012, electronics represented less than 10% of gold end-use.
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