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41 per cent increase in UAE gold sales in the third quarter of 2006 as sales figure reach Dirham 2 billion

United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, December 19 - 2006 @ 10:57

Sales figures in the UAE increased from 1.4 Billion Dirham in the third quarter of 2005 to 2 Billion Dirham in the third quarter of 2006.

On the other hand, the UAE gold consumption in terms of tonnage was stable due to high tourist numbers in the third quarter compared to the same period of the previous year in spite of the increase in living cost specially in Dubai.

Gold jewellery demand was down by less than 1% (especially 22K gold jewellery preferable to Indians) while net retail investment (gold coins and bars) was up by 5%. Total demand reached 22.9 tons, which is equivalent to the demand in the same quarter of 2005.

In Saudi Arabia, demand fell by 9% (reaching 33.9 tons) due to high and volatile world gold prices as well as the restraining impact of the stock market slump since the first half of the year 2006, which highly affected both consumer sentiments and the purchasing power of individuals, especially middle-income consumers. Although gold jewellery demand in Saudi Arabia decreased by 10% (reaching 31.6 tons); gold retail investment demand (gold coins and bars) increased by 5% (reaching 2.3 tons). Still, future outlook of gold demand in Saudi Arabia is more positive due to the coming Hajj period that will increase the gold sales for in- and out- pilgrims as well as the possibility of reducing gold jewellery customs tariff in Saudi Arabia from the existing 12% to 5% only as it is the case now in all other GCC countries.

As for other Gulf States (Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain & Qatar), which had less promotion for gold and jewellery, total gold demand declined by 9% reaching 12 tons.

In Egypt and Turkey, a slight recovery of gold jewellery demand. It was a remarkable recovery of demand in Turkey from 43% in quarter one 2006 to 10% fall only in quarter three 2006. The net retail investment increased 2% in third quarter in Turkey. As for Egypt, total gold demand fell by 16% in Egypt (15% in jewellery and 60% in retail investment). This was due to gold price rise, which was possibly stronger in Egypt due to the depreciation in the Egyptian pound in 2003 an 2004, although the number of tourists was higher in quarter three this year and the Egyptian economy was reviving.

Commenting on the third quarter results in the region, Mr. Moaz Barakat – Managing Director of the World Gold Council in the Middle East, Turkey and Pakistan said:

“World gold price volatility has affected the demand as anticipated in the beginning of this quarter, however; demand has increased towards the end of quarter three supported by price stability and consumers have become comfortable with the range of $570 to $600 per ounce.”

Mr. Barakat added: “The positive effect of the marketing and promotional campaigns held by the World Gold Council and its partners from the gold traders in several countries in the region has been very much apparent on gold jewellery demand, especially with the stability of world gold prices. This is very much similar to the Council’s role in increasing world retail investment demand through the Gold-backed Exchange traded Funds (ETFs) launched by the Council in several world stock markets.”

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Tuesday, December 19- 2006 @ 10:57 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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