Gold demand in the Middle East in the first quarter of 2002 fell nine percent short of 1Q 2001 levels, reaching only 129.9 tons compared with 143 tons during the same period the previous year, confirmed a recently published World Gold Council Report. The reports figures cover jewelry, bar and coin demand in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Egypt.
The losses were attributed to recent political turmoil in the region and the prospect of escalating conflict in the region in addition to the rising international price of gold. This combination of factors translated into a drop-off in jewelry demand while purchases of bar and coin for investment purposes rose, stated the report.
Total offtake in the Gulf States declined 10 percent in the first quarter of this year, coming in at 43.7 tons. Unlike recent years, the Eid Al-Adha festival did not coincide with the annual Dubai Shopping Festival causing, together with the flare-up in political tension towards the end of the quarter and the rise in price, the fall in demand.
A project to create an increase in gold, diamond and commodities by 2005 is currently underway in Dubai. The Dubai International Metals and Commodities Center will combine several elements of the gold industry in one location. It will be the first gold production zoneo in the Middle East and will feature bullion refineries, gold hallmarking centers and storage facilities. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )