Rising oil prices boosted the oilrich Gulf countries' economies in recent months, and the region and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in particular, saw increased demand for gold in the first quarter of 2000.
The World Gold Council (WGC) revealed that demand in the Arab Gulf states — the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar witnessed a four percent increase with the volume in the first quarter rising to 43.5 tonnes. Despite a higher average gold price, demand soared by 59 percent compared to the last quarter of 1999. Moaz Barakat, the WGC Regional Director, commented that gold sales in the Middle East reached a record 217 tonnes in the first quarter, up 11 percent from the previous year, The Hindustan Times reported.
Demand in the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain increased while Kuwait registered a small decrease, WGC officials said.
In the United Arab Emirates, the volume hit 27.8 tonnes, constituting an increase of five percent more than the equivalent period in 1999. The WGC explained the increase by promotions like the Dubai Shopping Festival and International Jewelry Dubai Show.
Kuwait’s demand dipped by 4 percent in year 2000's initial quarter to 6.8 tonnes. Oman saw an increase of 5 percent above the first quarter of 1999, while Qatar’s gold requisition rose to 1.7 tonnes - an increase of 31 percent.
While demand in Pakistan and Egypt dropped slightly in the period, Saudi Arabia’s demand in the first three months of 2000 grew from 63.1 tonnes in the 1999 first quarter, to 65.6 tonnes in the equivalent 2000 time-frame.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )