WGC: Local gold demand plummets 35%

Overall gold demand in the Middle East fell by 23 percent during the last quarter of 2009, according to a report issued Wednesday by the World Gold Council (WGC). Gold demand on the Egyptian market, meanwhile, fell by 35 percent for the same period, the study states.

The recent dramatic decreases in demand have prompted the WGC to launch a marketing campaign in the region with the aim of encouraging the public to invest in gold.

Within the last two days, local per-gram gold prices rose slightly, with 24-carat gold reaching LE194.3; 21-carat reaching LE170.2; and 18-carat reaching LE145.7.

Rafiq Abbasy, head of the gold and jewelry department at the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce, asserted that local demand had fallen by an even greater percentage than that stated in the WGC report. He attributed the decrease to the unfolding global financial crisis.

According to Wadie Antoine, head of the gold and jewelry department at the Sharqiya Chamber of Commerce, the actual drop in local demand was probably closer to 40 or 50 percent. "Jewelers are only selling wedding rings these days," he said.

Antoine went on to warn against the purchase of Chinese gold currently available on the local market. "It isn’t pure," he said. "It’s only metal plated with gold."

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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