DUBAI: This year’s Indian Akshaya Tritiya festival helped boost retail gold sale volumes in the Gulf region by 11 percent compared to last year’s despite high bullion prices, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Tuesday.
More than 720 kilograms of gold worth around $30 million was sold in the Gulf region during the one-day festival on Sunday, according to WGC data.
The data showed the sales represented a 12 percent increase in revenues compared to the same day last year.
"Despite the high gold prices, we saw an increase in demand, which comes from the fact that consumers have gained confidence in gold as an investment and adjusted themselves to change in price," said Yogaani Bhatia, United Arab Emirates country manager at the WGC told Reuters.
The Akshaya Tritiya festival is one of the most auspicious days of the year to buy gold, as Hindus believe they can get lasting prosperity by buying precious metals on this day.
Spot gold rallied nearly 6 percent in April, its largest monthly gain in five months, as concern over Greece’s ability to deal with its debts lured investors into bullion.
On Tuesday, it traded at around $1,213.55 an ounce, off a record of nearly $1,250 on May 14.
Called the city of gold, Dubai’s gold sales also showed signs of a slight improvement in April sales volumes as summer vacations prompted more expat gift buying.
"I expect the outlook of retail demand in Dubai and the rest of the Gulf to remain positive over the coming months as … consumers feel more confident about keeping their jobs and having financial security," said Bhatia, adding that during the festival most of the demand was for 22 karat gold and coins.
In India, retail gold demand recorded sharp declines during the festival compared to the same time last year as consumers there were unable to afford the high prices.