UAE: Gold jewellery demand loses shine, plunges 10% due to record prices

This was the lowest demand in the past 9 months


Waheed Abbas

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Tue 30 Apr 2024, 1:31 PM

Last updated: Tue 30 Apr 2024, 10:38 PM

Gold jewellery demand in the UAE fell in the first quarter of this year as prices reached record highs amidst regional and global geopolitical tensions, as well as expectations of interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve.

According to World Gold Council data released on Tuesday, gold and jewellery demand fell 10 per cent year-on-year to 10.8 tonnes in the first quarter of this year. This was the lowest demand in the past 9 months.

Jewellery demand fell 10 per cent year-on-year during January-March 2024 to 8.8 tonnes. While demand quarter-on-quarter fell by 1.5 tonnes. Similarly, bars and coins demand fell the same percentage – 10 per cent – in the first quarter to 2.0 tonnes in the UAE.

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Jewellery demand for the Middle East region was 4 per cent lower year-on-year at 42 tonnes in Q1.

“Weaker demand in the UAE and Saudi Arabia outweighed an improvement in Egypt. The high gold price environment was reportedly the reason for the year-on-year declines in the UAE and Saudi Arabia (-12 per cent). In contrast, Egypt saw local gold prices fall in Q1 as the local currency strengthened after the country secured bailout funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” World Gold Council said.

On Tuesday, the 24K variant of the precious metal was trading at Dh281.75 per gram, according to Dubai Jewellery Group data. While 22K, 21K and 18K were trading at Dh260.75, Dh252.5 and Dh216.5 per gram, respectively. Spot gold was trading at $2,314.56 per ounce on Tuesday.

Globally, first-quarter gold demand slipped 5 per cent year-on-year to 1,102 tonnes, due to continued exchange-traded fund (ETF) outflows. Q1 saw no let-up in the pace of central bank gold buying as 290 tons were added to official holdings. Bar and coin demand matched the previous quarter at 312 tonnes, translating to a 3 per cent year-on-year increase.

The jewellery sector was healthy, given the price rally. Global jewellery consumption was just 2 per cent lower at 479 tonnes.

Technology demand for gold recovered 10 per cent as the AI boom boosted demand in the electronics sector, the World Gold Council said.

In India, gold jewellery demand was 95 tonnes, 4 per cent above the comparatively weak first quarter of 2023.

“India’s continued strong macroeconomic environment was supportive of gold consumption. Rural demand is now seeing similar growth to that of urban India; in recent quarters it lagged behind as it struggled to shake off the effects of the pandemic. The early improvement in demand was evident in the local gold price, which moved to a premium in late January until late February, before reverting sharply to a sizable discount in March as the surging price choked off demand. The prospect of impending elections likely further contributed to the March slowdown, as gold consumption tends to decline during these periods,” WGC said.


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