x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Gold trade rises as investors seek safe haven

Gold trade excluding jewellery in Dubai rose 12 per cent in the first half of this year.

Gold trade excluding jewellery in Dubai rose 12 per cent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period last year, to reach US$14.69 billion (Dh53.95bn), the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) said. About 300 tonnes of the precious metal was imported to Dubai in the first six months of the year; a rise in weight of 13 per cent over the 265 tonnes imported in the first half of last year.

Dubai's exports of gold reached 213 tonnes in the first half of this year, up 19 per cent from 179 tonnes during the same period last year. Ahmed bin Sulayem, the executive chairman of the DMCC, said Dubai's refineries have been busy despite the economic downturn as more people turn to the precious metal as a safe-haven asset. "With commodities, the biggest investment usually happens during a recession," Mr bin Sulayem said.

Chandu Siroya, the vice chairman of the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, said gold has shown its worth as a safe investment during the economic turmoil. "All the other investments have failed and gold is the only investment that has remained steady or going up," Mr Siroya said. "They're looking at it as a hedge against other investments." The average price of gold in the first half was $922 an ounce, up from $910 an ounce for the same period the year before, according to the DMCC.

Dubai's top export markets were India, Switzerland and Iran, while India, Malaysia and Switzerland provided the most gold to the emirate. But the booming trade in gold for investment is in contrast to Dubai's gold jewellery industry. Sales at the emirate's jewellers in the first half have dropped between 25 and 40 per cent compared with the year before, said Chetan Karani, the deputy managing director of the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group.

The high gold price that has boosted gold trade has deterred UAE jewellery shoppers, Mr Karani said. This combined with fewer tourists and consumers' wariness to spend after the financial crisis has dealt a major blow to the jewellery industry, he said. aligaya@thenational.ae