29 October 2008

"Dubai Runs Out of Gold"

Bahrain Tribune
Dubai runs out of gold

Oct 29 (Bahrain) - A massive rush at jewellery shops has led to a shortage of gold at some outlets, prompting some shopkeepers to overcharge customers, reports Gulf News.

Jewellers are seeing a huge rush of buyers as gold prices are currently at a two-year low.

Shopkeepers said the rush, a combined result of the Hindu festival of Diwali and lower prices has resulted in a shortage of gold bars. But they denied any hoarding by outlets.

"There is enough gold available in the market and sales are at their peak over the last couple of days with the market falling drastically," jewellers said across the emirate.

A buyer who asked not to be named said: "The price of gold prompted me to visit the Gold Souq in Sharjah. However, most retailers claimed they were sold out. Outlets where gold was available were openly overcharging. They said it was in short supply. The price of 24 carat stood at Dh88.75 but they were openly charging Dh92.50. This is clearly an unfair practice."

Shubash Golati, a buyer, said: "It is a tradition to buy gold during the four-day Indian festival of Diwali. I bought 22 carat jewellery worth Dh5,000. I wanted to buy a 100 gramme gold bar but was told that it is out of stock."

HR Bafna, financial controller from Siroya Jewellers, said a physical shortage of gold is happening worldwide.

He said: "It is matter of physical delivery. It might take a day or two to replenish the stocks. But I am sure that there is no hoarding by jewellers because the market rate has dropped. This has resulted in a tremendous rush of buyers and so the gold bars are out of stock."

In reply to buyers’ complaints that gold outlets are cashing in on the limited stocks and buyer rush, Bafna said: "There is a possibility, but I can’t confirm this."

A counter salesman at the Joy Alukkas outlet in Bur Dubai said for the last couple of days there have been no fluctuations in gold prices.

He said: "From a customer’s point of view this is an excellent time to buy."

He too denied any hoarding taking place. "If the demand for gold is high it is but obvious that some stocks will run out. Some retailers take advantage of this."