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Customers search stores for 'bargain' gold

By Wu Yiyao in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-17 09:46

Wang Yufeng, a 57-year-old Shanghai resident, elbowed other customers in a crowded gold jewelry store in Shanghai's Zhabei district on Tuesday, to have a closer look at the price tag of a set of gold jewelry behind the glass counter.

Without hesitation she swiped her card, paying 12,600 yuan ($2,032) for the items, a gift to her daughter who is getting married soon.

The set, which included a pair of earrings, a necklace and a bracelet, cost around 14,000 yuan just a week ago.

"I've been waiting for lower prices for weeks, and now it's time to move," said Wang.

Gold futures for April delivery on Monday fell 9.4 percent, the biggest one-day drop in 30 years, to a two-year low at $1,360.6 per ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

But while gold markets in the United States and Europe saw panic selling, sales of gold bars and jewelry jumped in China as buyers viewed the lower prices as an opportune moment to invest.

Wang was not alone.

Gold stores and banks which sell retail gold investment products reported surging sales on Monday and Tuesday, according to media reports from across the country.

In Guangzhou, an investor spent 6 million yuan for 20 kg of gold bars, Xin Kuai Bao, a local daily newspaper, reported.

Cao Mengluo, a manager at Beijing Caishikou Department Store, a leading gold store in the city, said business was considerably brisker than usual.

Small jewelry items such as gold earrings sold out, but most buyers were interested in investment items, such as gold bars.

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