The jewellery sector recorded a 50 per cent decline in sales for 2018 as the demand for gold and jewellery dropped to its lowest rate in 10 years, the General Jordan Jewellers Union said on Friday.
Shop owners described 2018 as “the worst year ever”, said Ribhe Allan, secretary general of the union.
The government’s decision to impose taxes on gold sales in early 2018 and a similar increase on hallmark taxes (an official mark struck into metals to certify their content) have “weakened” the purchasing power, Allan told the Jordan News Agency, Petra.
Nabil Tabarani, a jewellery shop owner in Amman, said that many sellers have changed their business completely after the hard year. “The government has destroyed the gold market with taxes and customs. Gold is no longer the safe investment and the valuable metal it used to be,” he told The Jordan Times.
Tabarani noted that the 50 per cent decline in sales ate away at their profits. “What we make may barely cover the goods’ prices and operational costs.”
Qusai Taie, a sales representative at a jewellery shop in Sweifieh, said that customers’ demand notably decreased, even during the wedding season (summer).
“We had to release some staff and reduce the production and import of goods to compensate for the losses,” Taie told The Jordan Times.
Another shop owner in west Amman said “our losses began even before taxes were imposed in 2018”.
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The owner, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the overall difficult economic situation made people less likely to buy luxury items. “When most people are indebted, trying to secure food and shelter for their children, who would invest in gold or buy pieces of jewellery?”
Allan expressed hoped that the new year would bring with it a more stable market and an increase in demand, telling Petra that there are around 700 gold and jewellery shops across the Kingdom.
He noted that gold’s highest global market price last year peaked at around $1,365 per ounce (equivalent to 34.38 grammes) and $1,160 was the lowest price. Locally, the highest price of 24-karat gold was JD31.25 per gramme in 2018, and the lowest price was JD26.50, Petra added.