As the holiday and wedding season kicks off around the Middle East, Doha’s market traders said they have been witnessing a substantial increase in gold sales.
The traders say the rise is mainly driven by expatriates buying gold as gifts for family members back home.
Summer is also peak season for weddings in Qatar’s neighboring countries, where many expatriates hail from.
”Every year, we see an increase in sales in the summer season. In summer, there are a lot of celebrations and expatriates usually return to their home countries. So people buy gold for their families and as accessories,” said the manager of the al-Ramizan jewelry shop, Raed al-Yafey.
Gold market trader Abd al-Razak al-Zaiany said 21 and 22 carat gold were the most popular types of gold among expatriates, especially those coming from Egypt and Sudan.
“Egyptians of course and Sudanese. There are different nationalities, but these are the nationalities who buy the most. Gulf nationals prefer white gold of course, unlike Egyptians and Sudanese,” said al-Zaiany who works at the al-Shelwy jewellery shop.
Shopper Mohamed Mansy said people usually bought their gold before jetting off on their holidays. As well as the summer break, Eid al-Fitr also falls at the beginning of August, when many foreign workers head back to their families.
”Usually before the holiday, this is the time when we buy gold. We buy new gold jewellery, change old pieces and fix them. This is the peak time for our gold purchases, just before the holidays and before we travel,” Mansy said.
But jewellery seller Qassem bin Nissr said it wasn’t only the holiday season that was prompting people to stock up on gold. He said the drop in prices compared to the same period last year had also had an impact.
”There is an increase because of the drop in price, which was sharp and surprising; it caught the customers’ attention. Actually, the two factors coincided: the drop in price on the one hand and the start of the holiday season on the other,” said Nissr, who works at the Jawaher Qatar for Jewellery shop.
Last week, gold fell below $1,200 to its lowest since August 2010 and is on track to post its worst quarter since at least 1968.
Shopper Walid Haydar said this drop in the price of gold had also led to people buying gold bullion as an investment.
”I see that people are not only buying gold for accessories, but rather that more gold bullion is being sold. People save their money in this form as prices fall. Prices are much lower than before so I can see that sales have really increased,” Haydar said.
According to traders, gold sales usually reach their peak towards the end of June, followed by a period of slow growth, as most expatriates leave Qatar for the summer holidays during July and August.