Gold rush! Saudis pack jew­elry stores to buy be­fore tax rise

Arab News - - Front Page - Fa­had Alzahrani Riyadh Sean Cronin Lon­don

San Fran­cisco 1849, Klondike 1896 … now Riyadh 2020.

The great Saudi gold rush was well un­der­way on Satur­day as buy­ers rushed to stock up be­fore the in­tro­duc­tion of the new 15 per­cent VAT rate on Wed­nes­day.

“I wasn’t ex­pect­ing this level of sales this week,” said jew­eler Yaseen Ali at the Riyadh gold souq in Diriyah, where trade is al­most back to pre-pan­demic lev­els. “I be­lieve both lift­ing the cur­few and the in­crease in VAT played a role in mov­ing the mar­ket.” with gold pur­chases.

Riyadh jew­eler Ibrahim Awadh told Arab News: “With lift­ing the cur­few, we ex­pect to see more wed­ding cel­e­bra­tions in the com­ing weeks which will boost the sales of gold and jew­elry, al­though the big wed­ding gath­er­ings that ex­ceed 50 peo­ple are still banned.”

Gold bul­lion rose more than 1 per­cent last week, with prices at a near eight-year high of more than $1,779 an ounce.

“Gold has al­ways been top­i­cal for in­vestors in the Mid­dle East,” said Alessio Cir­illo, sales di­rec­tor at In­vesco EMEA. “Most in­vestors buy gold as a hedge against in­fla­tion and high eco­nomic un­cer­tainty, with some in­vestors look­ing for as­set ap­pre­ci­a­tion. Glob­ally, gold ex­change traded funds are record­ing record in­flows.”

AN photo

The Riyadh gold souq in Diriyah has recorded brisk busi­ness.

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