JEDDAH: IRFAN MOHAMMED
The crash in the prices of the yellow metal has sparked off a gold rush across Saudi Arabia.
In the last three days, gold souks in the Kingdom have come alive with buyers flocking to cash in on the sharp drop in gold prices.
Most of the shop owners in the gold souk in Kandra said that their businesses have increased 50 percent in the last three days, whereas those in Balad said sales of 22-carat had gone up by more than 75 per cent and were expected to rise further.
Ismail, a salesman at Malabar Gold in Balad reported record rush since the drop in gold prices.
Arshia Nuzhat Baig, an Indian housewife in Jeddah, said it was “good news.”
Tanuja Anand, a Riyadh-based homemaker, said she was overjoyed and had immediately bought gold ornaments.
Syed Ghaziuddin Ali, a long-time resident of Jeddah, said it came as a “pleasant surprise.” He has invested in gold biscuits.
On the weekend, scores of families were seen shopping for gold in Riyadh and Dammam also, according to trade sources.
Prices of gold have stabilized at SR 173 per gram for 24 carat. This is up SR 2 per gram compared to what it was two days ago. The price of 22 carat gold is now SR 159 per gram — up SR 1 per gram as against two days ago.
Although there is a fall in gold prices, gold ornament shops are charging customers extra money for design and ornamentation.
Indian expatriates are top buyers of gold jewelry in the Kingdom. Many of them prefer to purchase 22-carat ornaments, which are available in few shops in major cities that are usually crowded.
Gold shops are struggling to cope with the rush. Salesmen are finding it difficult to maintain inventory of stock after closing shops. Some close earlier than the regular time in order to take inventory.
A man inspects jewelry at a gold shop in Jeddah. (AN Photo)