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Wed 10 Dec 2008 02:07 PM

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Abu Dhabi gold jewellery sales slump

Sales down by about 20 percent in November as higher prices cool demand.

Gold jewellery sales in Abu Dhabi fell about 20 percent in November as higher prices crimped demand, the emirate's industry group said on Wednesday.

Sales in December are likely to stay soft as prices stay firm, cooling the appetite for buying over the holiday season, said Tushar Patni, the chairman of Abu Dhabi Gold and Jewellery Group.

"December hasn't been very exciting, anyone who was shopping for the holidays has already completed their purchases," Patni said.

Robust sales in October, sparked by seasonal buying ahead of the Indian Diwali festival and wedding period, were also cited as reasons for the thinner demand in November, Patni said.

"Gold prices had also risen slightly in November so that tempered buying as well, the price was right in October."

Prices in November averaged about 89 dirhams ($24.23) a gram, up around 8.5 percent from October, Patni said.

By 0908 GMT, gold was trading at $779.70 an ounce, up $0.85 from New York's notional close on Tuesday, when it moved in a volatile $17 an ounce range.

A sell-off in equities had forced investors to short gold to cover losses, sending bullion to a 13-month low around $680 an ounce late in October.

New York gold futures added $4.3 an ounce to $789.6 in electronic trade.

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