gold coins, gold bars
Gold is turning too hot to touch for shoppers in the UAE and everywhere else. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: As expected, international gold prices are heating up, gaining $45 this morning to trade at $1,945 an ounce with reports coming in of military actions along the Russia-Ukraine border. The Dubai Gold Rate is currently at Dh237.25 a gram for 24 carats, while the 22-carat bullion is at Dh223, already at its highest point of the year. The bullion prices are heading up by the minute on latest updates from the situation in and around Ukraine.

Since the start of this month, gold and jewellery shopping had dropped drastically and the latest price escalation will make it even more so. “It’s back to wait-and-watch for us jewellery retailers because shoppers are not going to look at any purchase in the current situation,” said one of the biggest gold retailers in the country.

In the last 30 minutes, there has been some stability at the $1,939-$1,940 levels as global funds and investors gauge the likely impact of the initial Russian strikes. (On January 1, 2022, gold was at $1,827.)

"With tensions the way they are now, gold is only heading up – and there is no point speculating how high that might be," said Joy Alukkas.

“Whether it’s in the UAE or India, the demand for gold has dropped completely since prices started pushing towards $1,900 and now to $1,950,” said Joy Alukkas, Chairman of the jewellery store network bearing his name. “With tensions the way they are now, gold is only heading up – and there is no point speculating how high that might be.

“For retailers, it helps that our current collections in the stores were bought when gold was still at $1,850 levels. But whatever we sell now – if there are shoppers wanting to buy at these prices – we will immediately replenish those stocks. We are not going to stop buying and adding more just because prices are at $1,900 and over.”

"Gold has seen major buys from global funds in the last three days, and these funds are reducing their exposures in stocks, crypto and even currencies and placing those funds in gold," said Shamlal Ahamed.

Given the military actions, gold could even be bracing for a push towards $1,950 an ounce. Once again, gold reinforces its credentials as the ultimate save haven asset, while stock markets go into turmoil and alt-assets such as Bitcoin and cryptocoins feel the pain from the latest global crisis.

According to the retailer, “We are facing the same situation on gold demand that was there during the initial months of the COVID-19 spread in early 2020. Gold shoppers will have only one thought – when will the next big drop happen?

“Even if gold drops slightly below $1,900, it will not inspire confidence in shoppers.”

Gold prices - Too fast and too high
“Never before have we seen this kind of increase in a matter of hours,” said Shamlal Ahamed, who heads the international operations at Malabar Gold & Diamonds. “The sustained increase has been influenced by unverified reports – and now we see some price stability at $1,940. It could be temporary.

"Only those shoppers who want to pick up some additional gold for marriages will consider buying at this stage before they find it has shot up even higher."