Expat demand fuels Oman gold import bill to OMR325m

Business Saturday 13/August/2016 21:00 PM
By: Times News Service
Expat demand fuels Oman gold import bill to OMR325m

Muscat: Oman spent more than OMR300 million in 2015 to feed expats’ craving for the yellow metal in 2015, according to latest data.
Expatriates tend to buy gold while returning to their countries of origin to benefit from the price difference, jewellers say, adding the dip in global prices and people’s trust in the yellow metal have led to a boom in sales in 2015 and surge in its imports.
A latest report from National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) revealed that in 2015, Oman imported 1,500 tonnes of jewellery, including natural and artificial pearls, precious stones, semiprecious stones, precious metals, normal-coated metals, traditional jewellery and coins.
“The value of such jewellery items stood at OMR324.90 million and the Sultanate’s imports of such items surged by 88.2 per cent, compared with 2014 (300 tonnes worth of OMR172.6 million),” NCSI’s data revealed.
Najeeb K, regional head, Malabar Gold & Diamonds in Oman, said expatriates buying gold while returning home to take advantage of the price difference can be seen as one of the main reasons for the sales surge, which has prompted the import numbers to go up.
“Expatriates returning home for good are buying gold coins and biscuits, rather than transferring the money through banks, as when they resell it in their home country; they can save a good amount. In India, gold from here (bought in Oman) is valued well due to its quality and purity.
Moreover, it’s cheaper here too,” Najeeb said, adding that they are going to open a few more showrooms in Oman as they see potential in Oman.
Basheer Ahmed, Middle East director of Dubai Gold, said customers can save INR150 (OMR0.863) for 1 gram of gold bought from Oman, when compared with the same quantity purchased in India.
“When expatriates (Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis) return home for good from Oman, they purchase gold up to the maximum limit they can carry while flying, and they save a good amount of money. This has prompted a sales surge, which will eventually boost imports,” Ahmed said, adding that he feels confident about the Oman market and his firm is working on expansion plans in Oman.