Dubai now has about a 29 per cent market share of global gold trade with nearly 1,200 tonnes - worth about $41 billion - changing hands at the city's gold markets, according to the gold industry website bullionstreet.com. 
That's up from around $6 billion worth traded in the emirate in 2003, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre head Malcolm Wall Morris was quoted as saying by our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News. The centre was set up by the emirate to oversee the trade.
"There's no doubt the geographical location of Dubai has played an important factor," he said. The emirate has set up gold refineries and vaults and jewellery making facilities, importing gold - including scrap from India - and melting it down to produce gold bars. At the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange, traders and speculators buy and sell the metal on the futures market.
The city is building itself up as a centre for the gold trade, between sources in Africa and consumers in China and India.  Lola Oyekola, from Lagos, Nigeria, came to Dubai especially to buy gold.
"Because I know I will get what I want, unique ones," she said. "I can tell them what I want and they will make it for me." Dubai is sometimes called the "City of Gold" because of its stunning growth from a sleepy Gulf port to a leading business crossroads in the space of a single generation. Its nickname has a literal meaning for traders in the precious metal.