Egypt concluded on Tuesday the third edition of Nebu Expo for Gold & Jewelry amid soaring prices of gold and growing demand, while the country is facing a U.S. dollar shortage, currency devaluation and high inflation.
Ehab Wassef, head of the gold industry division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries, said the gold prices rose globally to exceed 2,000 dollars per ounce, which has been reflected in its prices in Egypt.
“We have recently had a large demand for gold among Egyptian citizens and companies for saving and investment,” Wassef told Xinhua, citing a recent report by the World Gold Council that “Egyptians bought in the first nine months of 2023 about 46.3 tons of gold.”
During the expo, more than 150 companies exhibited gold products, coins and bars, a variety of jewelry products, and relevant machinery and tools.
Tarek Al-Tarouty, the CEO of New Egypt Gold, one of the biggest exhibitors, said that gold has proven to be “a safe haven” and “a globally recognized currency” amid economic challenges and crises.
He said that the current “mania” for buying gold in Egypt, especially gold bars and coins, is mainly due to the rising dollar’s exchange rate against the Egyptian pound.
The gold purchase price of 24-carat gold hit 3,211 Egyptian pounds (about 103 U.S. dollars) per gram as of Tuesday, compared to 1,686 pounds in the same period last year, while the price of 21-carat gold reached 2,810 pounds per gram compared to 1,475 pounds in late November last year.
After a series of local currency devaluations to contain soaring inflation in Egypt, the country’s currency lost about half of its value in the past year.
The dollar exchange rate hit a record high in November to reach 50 Egyptian pounds in the parallel market, though the official exchange rate is 30.9 pounds per dollar, compared to about 24.5 pounds in late November 2022 and 18.3 pounds in late March 2022.
Fady Milad Raouf, the owner of Minous Gold, said the gold price hikes in Egypt are related to the high dollar exchange rate. “If the dollar exchange rate stabilizes, the gold prices will stabilize as well,” he said.
Although the rising gold prices affected the market, Raouf said that the Nebu expo was an opportunity to showcase his company’s new products and interact with merchants.
“The majority of gold buyers currently purchase for saving, especially gold bars and coins, but now some of them tend to buy crafted gold for both ornament and saving at the same time,” Raouf told Xinhua. ■