Despite high price, gold still hasn’t lost its shine

KUALA LUMPUR: Many Malaysians are still buying gold in preparation for weddings and birthdays despite the commodity’s soaring price.However, business outlets say people are now buying less and are more cautious.

Malabar Gold and Diamonds branch head Nijeesh Parayil said people are more careful with their money.

“If previously they planned to buy 10g, they now reduce this to 7g or 8g. They may also spend less on the workmanship as compared to before, and be more concerned about the weight,” he said in an interview.

He added that his shop offers many promotions such as “lock-in prices” as well as instalments and advice on items that would suit their budget.

“For the Hindus, they must buy the thali, which must have gold and this is usually 24K gold. For the Chinese who can afford, they buy gold bars. The Malays tend to buy bracelets and long chains.

“For the Indians, it is usually a whole set (of gold) for engagements and weddings, with the thali and thali kodi (chain) included, which they cannot do without,” said Nijeesh.

Gold prices soared to US$2,431 (RM11,612.83) per ounce or reportedly at about RM373.23 per gramme last Friday.

As of yesterday, gold has settled to about RM359 per gramme.

According to The Economic Times of India, the price of gold has risen by 15% over the last few months.

The recent increases are attributed to the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as the post-Covid-19 inflation surge.

His colleague Yasheedah Yashaiya said while Indians buy gold for weddings, many Malays now buy it as an investment.

“The trend of investing in gold has been increasing – across all ages. Even when prices spiralled, most of our shops had customers buying,” he said, pointing out that even during the Covid-19 pandemic, gold prices rose.

Managing director S. Pugal of Five Star Jewellers in Jalan Masjid India, whose shop specialises in thali items, said previously his customers would buy 50g for weddings.

“But now, they may only buy 30g. Firstly, they would come for the engagement ring and set.

“Then, they would come for the thali and the whole set of jewellery. Many now only purchase the necessary items but people are still buying as gold will always be a good investment,” he said.

Jeweller Habib Group executive chairman Datuk Seri Meer Habib said the market for gold is still strong.

“Although the Malaysian ringgit is weak, business is still good as people buy gold to hedge against inflation, expecting prices to shoot up even more. People can also sell their old gold to buy new gold. Our pawnshops see more of this happening,” he said.

Meer said many Malaysians, especially those without bank accounts or are ineligible for banking credit facilities, would still buy gold as a hedge against inflation and currency devaluation.

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