By Stanley Carvalho
Expats, mainly Asians, take gold jewellery and gold bars as gifts back home every year.
Retail gold sales in Abu Dhabi jumped over 30 percent in June due to holiday buying which is expected to stay robust into the first-half of July, traders said on Thursday.
"Sales were good in June because of holiday buying. Expatriates, mainly Asians take gold jewellery and gold bars as gifts back home every year in the summer," Tushar Patni, Director of Ajanta Jewellers said.
"Retail sales were up at least 30 to 40 percent in June compared to May," he said, adding that strong sales are expected to continue until mid-July.
Expatriates, especially South Asians, make up the majority of the population in the UAE.
"Our sales were good, they increased about 35 to 40 percent," said CK Sajid, manager of Alukkas Jewellery, which has three outlets in Abu Dhabi.
"Another two weeks we will see good sales. This is normal because of holiday purchases."
Stable gold prices last month also helped to boost sales.
The average price of 22 carat gold was 105 dirhams in June compared to 102 dirhams the previous month.
"June prices were stable although a bit higher than in May but it was reasonable and people going on vacation had to buy anyway," Patni said.
Spot gold traded from a low of $923 to a high of $983 an ounce in June compared to $884 to $975 average in May and $930 in January this year.
Retail gold prices move in line with spot prices which have eased slightly this year as investors switched from gold to equities due to the recovery in stock markets.
Tax-free jewellery in the UAE's gold souks and shopping malls draws Gulf, Arab, Asian and western tourists.
Abu Dhabi has some 85 gold shops and its own jewellery manufacturers. Imports, however, make up almost 60 percent of all jewellery sold at retail outlets. (Reuters)