Festive buying boosts gold sales

Tax-free jewellery attracts tourists from all over the world. (EB FILE)

Seasonal holiday buying helped lift retail gold sales in Abu Dhabi in December from November after high prices and the global economic slowdown hit sales for most of the year, traders said.

But with international gold prices near record levels, traders yesterday predicted a bleak January.

"Unless the price comes down, there is nothing that will get people to buy gold," said Tushar Patni, Director of Ajanta Jewellers and former chairman of the Abu Dhabi gold and jewellery group. Tax-free jewellery in the UAE's gold souks and shopping malls draws Gulf, Arab, Asian and Western tourists.

But tourism to the UAE has been hit by the global economic crisis. The volume and value of retail gold sales in Abu Dhabi in December was about the same as the year earlier, said Patni.

Flat sales were an improvement over the year-on-year declines in previous months of around 30 per cent. Sales were up as much as 25 per cent from November despite the rising price of the yellow metal, traders said.

"Sales in December were generally okay, 20 to 25 per cent better than in November due to Eid, Christmas and the holiday season where expatriates buy gold before leaving," said Patni.

Some retailers saw sales growing in double digits after suffering flat turnover in the previous months.

"December was good. We had a 25 per cent increase in sales over November, that too with the gold price being higher," said Chengalan Sajid, Manager at Joy Allukas Jewellery, which has three outlets in Abu Dhabi.

With prices showing no signs of falling, traders forecast poor sales in January.

Spot gold traded from a low of $1,086 to $1,217.40 an ounce in December. Retail gold prices move in line with spot prices.

 

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