JEDDAH — After a lengthy downturn, gold markets have been rejuvenated by the recent 30% drop in gold prices, bringing customers back to Qabil Street in Jeddah’s Al-Balad.
Hamid Al-Hasan, a shopkeeper at a jewelry shop in Al-Balad, said that the market is experiencing a long-awaited resurgence. When gold prices were much higher, African pilgrims were the main customers, Al-Hassan said, followed by the Indian expatriate community. Saudi customers were a rarity back then, except for those seeking to sell their old jewelry.
But Al-Hassan voiced fear that gold prices will continue to fluctuate. He likened himself to a fisherman, who sets out each morning not knowing what his fortunes will bring.
Mohammed Zaki, another shopkeeper, said that their working hours are long and hard, as they serve a large number of customers of various nationalities.
Abdulghani Al-Mohanna, Chairman of the Gold and Jewelry Council in the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the sale of gold this Ramadan has increased by 5 percent compared to that of last Ramadan.
Sales are expected to rise by another 15 percent by the time Eid arrives, said Al-Mohanna. The price of one gram of 21K gold was SR180 last Ramadan, but it has now dropped by almost SR40 to SR141, he said.
Ahmed Al-Sharif, a member of the Precious Metals and Stones National Committee in the Saudi Council of Chambers, said that gold sales are high during Ramadan and Eid due to the purchase of gifts.