Sliding gold prices have increased the lure of the yellow metal among expatriates ahead of the long summer break when most people travel home.
Gold prices fell further last Friday with 24-carat available for QR153.5 per gramme in the local market yesterday.
The rate of 22-carat gold was QR142.5 a gramme, while 18-carat commanded a price of QR117, bullion traders and jewellers said.
They said they expected gold to ease further. “We wouldn’t be surprised if the 24-carat rate touches QR135 in a month or so,” said a bullion trader not wanting to be named.
As Ramadan and summer vacations are about to begin, expatriates — many of whom prepare to leave for holidays— are lapping up gold.
As 22-carat coins are not in supply, the demand for pure gold bars of various denominations is huge, particularly the 116-gram standard ones.
The 116-gramme bar was being sold in the local market for
QR17,000 yesterday, down more than 10 percent from late last April. On April 19, 2013, for instance, the bar was available at QR19,000.
South Asians, particularly Indians, Pakistanis and Nepalese, are the largest buyers of pure gold bars of various denominations. Summer is also marriage season in these countries.
Although 116-gramme bars are more popular with expatriates, smaller bars of five, 10, 20, 30 and 50 grammes are also available and are a favourite mostly of the Nepalese.
“The demand for these bars is so maddening that we sold out all the 320 (116-gramme) standard 24-carat gold bars we had with us today (yesterday),” a representative from Gulf Exchange said.
He said the demand was so high that they were ordering the bars from Switzerland and Britain almost every working day.
Jewellery stores also said they were doing brisk business as gold prices were tumbling. “We had good business even when the rates were high,” said a representative of a jewellery store.
International media reports, meanwhile, said that gold tumbled on Friday to a three-year low to $1,180.50 (QR4,297) per ounce (31.1gm) hit by upbeat US data and receding inflation fears.
This was the lowest price level since August 3, 2010, media reports said. A strengthening dollar is the main cause of the waning value of gold. Analysts believe that the metal could further lose its sheen as the US economy improves.
Source : Qatar Chronicle
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