Falling prices spark gold rush

Updated 20 April 2013

Falling prices spark gold rush

The crash in the prices of the yellow metal has sparked off a gold rush across Saudi Arabia.
In the last three days, gold souks in the Kingdom have come alive with buyers flocking to cash in on the sharp drop in gold prices.
Most of the shop owners in the gold souk in Kandra said that their businesses have increased 50 percent in the last three days, whereas those in Balad said sales of 22-carat had gone up by more than 75 per cent and were expected to rise further.
Ismail, a salesman at Malabar Gold in Balad reported record rush since the drop in gold prices.
Arshia Nuzhat Baig, an Indian housewife in Jeddah, said it was “good news.”
Tanuja Anand, a Riyadh-based homemaker, said she was overjoyed and had immediately bought gold ornaments.
Syed Ghaziuddin Ali, a long-time resident of Jeddah, said it came as a “pleasant surprise.” He has invested in gold biscuits.
On the weekend, scores of families were seen shopping for gold in Riyadh and Dammam also, according to trade sources.
Prices of gold have stabilized at SR 173 per gram for 24 carat. This is up SR 2 per gram compared to what it was two days ago. The price of 22 carat gold is now SR 159 per gram — up SR 1 per gram as against two days ago.
Although there is a fall in gold prices, gold ornament shops are charging customers extra money for design and ornamentation.
Indian expatriates are top buyers of gold jewelry in the Kingdom. Many of them prefer to purchase 22-carat ornaments, which are available in few shops in major cities that are usually crowded.
Gold shops are struggling to cope with the rush. Salesmen are finding it difficult to maintain inventory of stock after closing shops. Some close earlier than the regular time in order to take inventory.


Saudi Arabia reaffirms support for Afghanistan during donor conference

Updated 58 min 47 sec ago

Saudi Arabia reaffirms support for Afghanistan during donor conference

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed its support for Afghanistan during a pledging conference for the war-torn nation. 
The event, co-hosted by Finland and the United Nations in Geneva, saw the US, the European Union and other donors pledge billions of dollars in funding for Afghanistan.
Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said the Kingdom has supported more than 35 projects in Afghanistan in various sectors, at a cost of more than $24m. 
The projects covered the humanitarian, health, education, water and food security fields. 
Al-Wasel said the Kingdom participated in all donor conferences held for Afghanistan out of its sense of responsibly towards Afghanistan and hopes for the country to achieve security and prosperity. 
He said the Kingdom believes that achieving stability in Afghanistan requires collective support through several steps, including conciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban, as well as the group’s commitment to renounce violence and engage in the political process. 
Countries like Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, the United States and Canada stepped forward with hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of pledges for Afghanistan, after speeches from officials like Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.