Dubai The UAE's first gold coin, which was unveiled last year, will finally be available for distribution by the end of this month, the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC) told Gulf News.

Like the Canadian Maple Leaf, Australian Nugget or South African Kruggerand, the gold coin will be the symbol of pride and recognition of the UAE's achievements. It will bear the portrait of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on one side, and on the other the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower.

The first of its kind in the Arab world, the coin was conceived to meet the demand by investors seeking access to gold, to protect their wealth against the ongoing global economic uncertainty.

Given the UAE's huge appetite for the yellow metal and the rising demand from global investors, the coin is expected to capture a sizeable portion of the market both locally and abroad.

"The coin will fill a gap in the global market for investment grade gold bullion coins, sales of which have been increasing on the back of volatility in financial markets and the increasing importance of gold as a distinct asset class," DMCC executive chairman Ahmad Bin Sulayem told Gulf News.

"The proximity of the Indian market and its confidence in gold and jewellery from the UAE will further drive sales of these coins. In addition, the coins will serve as exclusive UAE souvenirs," he added.

The DMCC will market the coin through traditional channels as well as through banks and other financial institutions.

Since the launch of the coin's prototype in August last year, Bin Sulayem said they have received "an overwhelming response from consumers and potential partners alike."

Demand up

The latest World Gold Council report noted an increased demand for gold bullion in the UAE.

Consumption of gold bars and coins jumped 19 per cent from 10.5 tonnes in 2010 to 12.5 tonnes last year.

Spending on bars and coins likewise grew from $411 million (Dh1.50 billion) to $630 million in the same period.

The DMCC earlier revealed plans to make the gold bullion coin as the first legal tender in the UAE and the Middle East as a whole. While the coin will be widely distributed in the UAE, the international distribution points have yet to be finalised.