KARACHI: Gold prices finally breached the Rs35,000 per ten grams mark to reach their highest level on Wednesday after international bullion prices hit a new peak.
The value of the precious metal increased by Rs343 to close at Rs35,271 per ten grams while per tola (11.7 grams) value rose by Rs400 to reach Rs41,150.
President of All Sindh Sarraf Jewellers Association, Haroon Rashid Chand, said that it was unfortunate that each time the international gold prices were influenced, local prices also rose.
Chand said that the precious metal had lost its charm both among consumers and investors, adding that after remaining under cost for some time, gold had rallied to keep pace with the foreign market.
“Local investors have moved on to other investment options such as stocks and savings certificates. The market remains unresponsive to gold’s movements,” he added. “We now fear for our survival as markets have remained this way for over a year,” he said.
Another dealer of gold, Saim Usman, said: “This steady increase in prices over the past week is worrying for us as this will drive our customers away.” He lamented that the period after Eid usually sees improved sales as there are lots of weddings and engagements, but this year the market had failed to pick up.
Furthermore, as gold prices continue to fluctuate in the market, gold dealers and designers are moving towards artificial jewellery.
According to the President of Small Traders Association of Artificial Jewellery, Saba Saleem, around 90 per cent of the existing jewellery makers have either shifted completely towards artificial jewellery or have started a secondary side-business on artificial ornaments.
He said that the new trend in Pakistan is to wear artificial jewellery that looks exactly like real gold ones. “The designs, the colour and even the weight are replicated to make them appear like the real thing,” he said.
Saleem said such jewellery was being designed by experts who had spent years designing gold articles and were now compelled to switch because of lack of consumer interest in gold.
Saleem said that another alternative is wearing gold-plated jewellery. “This is of course very cheap compared to gold jewellery which costs thousands of rupees,” he said.
Mohammad Khurram, a gold dealer at the KDA market, said that people were selling gold and buyers were few. He said that people now preferred 12-carat gold over other varieties as it was comparatively affordable.
In the international bullion market, gold prices surged by $12 to $1,293 an ounce on Wednesday.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2010.