High volatility in global markets has reinforced the strength and stability of gold, pushing up the prices of the precious metal to record highs of around $1,900 an ouncelast year. As gold becomes more expensive across the world, trading in the precious metal is also quickly rising.
The overall value of gold exports hit over $192 billion in 2011, an increase of almost 36 per cent from 2010, according to statistics from the International TradeCentre (ITC), a joint agency of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations (UN).
The yellow metal also plays a key role in the UAE's non-oil trade sector, with the precious metal topping the list of both imports to and exports from the UAE in 2011.
"Given the volatile global economy and the consideration for gold as a safer investment, the bullion business is expected to sustain its leading position within UAE trade," market consultants Frost and Sullivan said in a recent report.
Globally, the UAE featured among the top 15 countries exporting gold (including gold plated with platinum, unwrought, semi-manufactured or in powder form) in 2011, according to ITC calculations.
Here's a list of the biggest exporters.
1. Hong Kong, China
The value of gold exports from Hong Kong rose dramatically in 2011 to over $24.7 billion, up 145 per cent compared to 2010.
2. United States of America
Having occupied the spot of the world's top gold exporting nation since 2007, the US was pushed to the second place in 2011 despite the value of its exports increasing 61 per cent to $24.6 billion.
Canada's gold exports increased from $13.4 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion last year.
Following closely behind Canada, Australia recorded a 20.5 per cent rise in the value of exported gold last year, which reached $15.4 billion.
Peru's exports of the precious metal shot up over 28 per cent from $7.7 billion in2010 to $9.9 billion in 2011.
The value of gold exports from Japan jumped 45 per cent to reach $8.6 billion in 2011.
Italy's gold exports more than doubled in value in 2011 to reach $8.3 billion, up from $4 billion in 2010.
The exported value of gold from Germany increased from $6 billion in 2010 to $8billion last year.
Mexico recorded a 34 per cent rise in gold exports last year to reach $7.7 billion.
10. South Africa
South Africa, which did not export gold in 2009 and 2010, saw values rising from $1.5 million in 2008 to $6.9 billion last year.
The first country on the list to record a decrease in gold-export values, Thailand's exports fell nine per cent to $5.8 billion in 2011.
12. United Arab Emirates
The value of the UAE's gold exports dropped 65 per cent from $10.2 billion in 2010 to $3.5 billion in 2011.
13. Republic of Korea
Korea's gold exports rose marginally from $2.9 billion in 2010 to $3 billion last year.
14. Chinese Taipei
Gold exports from Taipei went up over 65 per cent to $2.9 billion in 2011.
The value of exported gold from Colombia increased marginally from $2 billion in 2010 to $2.7 billion last year.