Gold prices hit a record high in the global as well as local markets yesterday. A gramme of 24-carat of the yellow metal was available here for an incredible QR123.68.
“All past records are broken. This is an all-time high rate,” said an official from the gold division of Al Fardan Exchange.
Nevertheless, there are takers for gold coins and bars and they are mostly South Asian expatriates going on annual vacations, the official added.
The demand for gold jewelry was, though, subdued. Of course, high prices have affected demand, said an official from Damas, the famous jewelry chain.
Twenty-two-carat gold of which jewellery is mostly made of, was selling at QR117 per gramme in the local market. With the minimum making charges being between QR8 and QR10 per gramme, jewellery might soon be out of reach of limited-income expatriates at least.
Eighteen-carat gold jewelry is quite popular with Filipinos, but its rate also having soared to a record QR96 per gramme, jewelry-makers doubt if sales would remain as brisk as they always have been.
According to bullion traders, some countries have begun buying the precious metal as reserves after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) offloaded huge stocks (430 tons) late last month which brought gold prices down.
Gold rates have been soaring after the onset of the global recession late last year breaching the QR100 (per gramme of 24-carat or pure gold) mark this year.
But the prices remained below the QR120-mark even during the fag end of Ramadan and Eid festivities when the demand for the yellow metal is the highest in the year.
Contrast the current 24-carat rates to those in 2001 when barely QR29 fetched you a gram of the pure metal. A standard 116-gram of pure gold bar was then available for less than QR4,000. Today its prices have soared more than 350 percent to over QR14,350.
Traders said despite the soaring prices there were not many who came forward to offload stocks they bought earlier to hedge their investment portfolios. “We don’t see much resale here (of pure gold coins and bars). People mostly buy no matter at what price to carry home,” said Al Fardan Exchange official.
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