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HIGH OIL PRICES BOOSTED MIDDLE EAST GOLD DEMAND
Manama, 14th August 2001

 HIGH OIL PRICES BOOSTED MIDDLE EAST GOLD DEMAND IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2001 AND OFF TAKE ROSE BY SIX PER CENT (PC) YEAR-ON-YEAR TO 282.7 TONS, THE WORLD GOLD COUNCIL (WGC) HAS ANNOUNCED.

THE REGION HIT A RECORD FOR THE SECOND QUARTER WITH DEMAND RISING 10 PER CENT TO 139.7 TONS, THE WGC SAID IN ITS QUARTERLY GOLD DEMAND TRENDS PUBLICATION, BAHRAIN-BASED GULF DAILY NEWS REPORTED TODAY.

'THE HIGH OIL PRICES OF RECENT PERIODS HAVE BOOSTED ECONOMIES AND CONSUMER INCOMES ALTHOUGH THE BREAKDOWN OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI PEACE PROCESS HAS DAMPENED OPTIMISM A LITTLE,' THE WGC SAID IN THE REPORT.

THE MIDDLE EAST DEMAND COVERS GOLD JEWELLERY, BAR AND COIN DEMAND IN SAUDI ARABIA, THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE), BAHRAIN, KUWAIT, OMAN, QATAR AND EGYPT.


WGC SAID DEMAND IN THE SIX GCC STATES EXCLUDING SAUDI ARABIA ROSE 11PC IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2001 TO 94.1 TONS COMPARED WITH THE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR, UNDERPINNED BY HIGH OIL PRICES AND CONTINUING TRADE PROMOTIONS.

SECOND-QUARTER DEMAND WAS AT A RECORD, UP 8PC FROM A YEAR EARLIER AT 45.6 TONS, LED BY STRONG PERFORMANCES IN THE UAE AND SAUDI ARABIA.

IN SAUDI ARABIA, SECOND-QUARTER DEMAND WAS 9PC HIGHER AT 60.5TONS, BRINGING OVERALL GROWTH IN THE KINGDOM FOR THE FIRST HALF OF 2001, UP 2PC TO 124 TONS.

'IN ADDITION TO A STRONG ECONOMY, A REDUCTION IN IMPORT DUTY, AN INCREASE IN TOURIST VISAS BOOSTING THE NUMBER OF PILGRIMS AND THE LAUNCH OF THE KINGDOM'S FIRST-EVER COMMERCIAL GOLD COIN UNDERPINNED HEALTHY DEMAND,' THE WGC SAID.


OTHER GULF STATES PRESENTED A MORE MIXED PICTURE WITH RISES OF 5PC AND 11PC RESPECTIVELY IN KUWAIT AND OMAN IN THE SECOND QUARTER, OFFSET BY FALLS OF 4PC AND 15PC RESPECTIVELY IN BAHRAIN AND QATAR.

IN EGYPT, DEMAND ROSE TO A SECOND-QUARTER RECORD OF 33.6 TONS, UP 13PC YEAR-ON-YEAR, DESPITE ECONOMIC PROBLEMS THAT HAVE PARTLY DAMPENED RETAIL SPENDING.

HOWEVER, WORLD GOLD DEMAND FELL BY 3.4PC IN THE SECOND QUARTER OF THIS YEAR TO 764.2 TONS BECAUSE OF THE WORSENING ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT, THE WGC SAID.

Source: SPA

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