Gold rush! Saudis pack jewelry stores to buy before tax rise
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.”
The Riyadh gold souq in Diriyah has recorded brisk business.