Gold reaches record value of Rs70,000 per tolaInvestors snap up the yellow metal amid US-China trade tensions.
Gold soared to rarefied heights on Thursday, reaching a record value of Rs70,000 per tola as US-China trade tensions drove jittery investors to seek refuge in safe-haven assets, Nepali bullion traders said.
The yellow metal gained Rs4,200 per tola within seven days. According to the Federation of Nepal Gold and Silver Dealers’ Association, gold opened at Rs66,300 per tola on Sunday, after closing at Rs65,800 on Friday.
Prices have surged by Rs10,500 per tola in the last two months, and bullion traders expect them to rise further.
Tej Ratna Shakya, former president of the federation, said that prices took off on Friday after the US government hiked the customs duty on Chinese goods for the third time. Talks between the two countries ended without any conclusion on Wednesday.
This prompted investors to put their money in the yellow metal as they saw it as a secure alternative, thus pushing up demand. The Indian rupee also weakened following the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, leading to gold prices shooting up, said Shakya.
With gold prices following a high trajectory, traders said the value could reach up to Rs75,000 per tola. International bullion analysts had predicted that gold could hit $1,500 per ounce by December-end, but prices reached this milestone in August, Shakya said.
At Rs70,000 per tola, Nepali customers are treading lightly.
“The bullion market has worn a deserted look from Friday,” he said. Shakya added that a number of customers were selling gold, and traders were not in a position to buy it due to wide price fluctuations.
The domestic bullion market has turned gloomy despite festivals like Teej coming up when the gold sales usually pick up. Shakya said that buyers took home 55-60 kg of gold daily during Teej last year when it cost around Rs60,000 per tola. Sales are expected to drop this year, he said.
Banks were forced to stop importing gold as bullion traders did not buy new stock with returns from their customers piling up in their safes.
Dwarika Bishwokarma, treasurer of the Federation of Nepal Gold Silver Gem and Jewellery Association, said that daily gold sales totalled around 40 kg during this time last year. “Daily sales barely reach 5 kg nowadays,” he said. “More than 75 percent of the buyers are selling gold.”
Banks are holding around 750 kg of unsold gold as bullion traders have been reluctant to purchase the yellow metal.
According to Reuters, the gold price rose topping the $1,500 per ounce mark in the previous session as central banks around the world slashed interest rates amidst fears of a global recession. On Wednesday, gold soared over 2 percent to break the $1,500 barrier for the first time in over six years.