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Mon 27 Apr 2009 02:03 PM

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Dubai Q1 gold imports up 15% year-on-year

Switzerland and India were the top exporters to the emirate in the first quarter of 2009 - Dubai World Group.

Dubai's gold imports in the first quarter of 2009 grew to 140 tonnes, up 15 percent from the same period of the previous year, according to data from Dubai World Group.The value of the gold trade rose nearly five percent to $7.4bn in the first three months of the year when compared with the first quarter of last year, data showed.

Dubai exported 116 tonnes of gold in January to March. Switzerland and India were the top exporters to the emirate in the quarter, while Pakistan and India were the leading importers from Dubai.

Dubai has a long-established market for gold bullion and jewellery fuelled by strong demand from the Arab world and India.

The trade data indicated Dubai was coping well with the global financial crisis, said Harendra Kailath, director of gold at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).

"A look at the gold sector in general suggests that there are sufficient reasons to remain bullish about Dubai's ability to ride out the storm and further enhance its position as the city of gold," he said.

Dubai gold sales fell 40 to 60 percent in the first quarter versus volumes between October through December.

The global financial crisis which has hit the shores of Dubai has cooled spending for the precious metal, Kailath told Reuters.

"The crisis has caused people to cut down on spending because they have less disposable income," he said.

"And also because tourists coming in from India traditionally bought a lot of gold from Dubai...with the crisis they are cutting down on the number of trips that they make down here." (Reuters)

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