Strong demand for gold jewellery from Singapore

GEORGE TOWN: The strong demand for Malaysian gold jewellery products from Singapore will maintain the value of exports of RM4.8bil, the same as the value exported in 2021.

According to Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, Malaysia exported RM4bil worth of gold jewellery products from January to August, more than the RM2.87bil registered for the same period a year ago.

The top buyers were Singapore, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia.

“We expected the value of gold jewellery products to decrease because of the volatility of gold prices. Since April 2022, the gold price fluctuated between US$1,951 (RM8,721) per ounce and US$1,664 (RM7,438) per ounce.

“Normally, investors don’t buy gold jewellery when gold prices fluctuate significantly.

“However, because of the strong buying from Singapore, the sale of gold jewellery to the city-state has increased, boosting the value to RM4bil in August from RM2.29bil in May,” Penang Goldsmith Association (PGA) adviser Joeson Khor told StarBiz.

Current gold prices are hovering around US$1,750 (RM7,823) per ounce.

Singapore bought RM1.8bil worth of gold jewellery from Malaysia between January and August 2022, while during the same period, the UAE and Japan imported RM1.38bil and RM2.88bil of Malaysian-made gold jewellery.“Singaporeans started investing more in gold jewellery last year. Gold consumer demand from Singapore was 2.7 tonnes in the second quarter of 2021, up 124% compared with the same quarter in 2020, according to a recent World Gold Council (WGC) report.

“The trend continued into this year. Jewellery demand from Singapore rose 43% year-on-year to two tonnes in the second quarter of 2022.

“According to the World Gold Council (WGC) report, jewellery consumption increased 35% year-on-year to three tonnes in Malaysia.

“The economic recovery and the lifting of most remaining Covid-19 measures have supported demand,” he said.

According to Khor, with pandemic control measures lifted and international travel resuming in April, jewellery consumption saw a notable rebound.

“Festival-buying also played a role in the second quarter, as gold protects wealth and is a safe-haven asset.

“Covid-19 has had a significant impact on consumer confidence, and it is in markets that have dealt with the pandemic more effectively that consumer demand for gold has been more robust.

“Asean is an important gold market –Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia sit within the Top 10 consumer markets for gold worldwide, and Singapore has one of the highest per capita spending on gold globally,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Institute of Economic Research head of research Shankaran Nambiar said that globally, jewellery demand has been weaker after 2022, driven by lockdowns in China and the strengthening dollar, which made gold bought in local currencies more expensive.

“As many countries face economic weakness and the cost-of-living crises continue to squeeze spending, consumer-driven demand will likely soften, although there should be pockets of strength.

Investor buying of gold should be broadly flat through the rest of the year as tighter monetary policy by central banks diminishes the allure of the non-interest-bearing asset, according to the WGC.

Bar and coin demand likely would remain healthy due to the bleak economic backdrop,” Nambiar said.

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