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Pingtan witnesses gold purchase frenzy

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2013-04-23

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Gold purchases are picking up speed in Pingtan county, Southeast China's Fujian province, following a recent abrupt price drop for the precious metal.

Gold has fallen below $1,500 a troy ounce, the lowest point in the past 21 months. On Tuesday, April 16, gold was priced at 276 yuan ($44.70) per gram, down from 340 yuan earlier this year, attracting a number of Pingtan residents to flock to purchase gold.

"My two granddaughters are about to get married. So I want to buy some gold jewelry for them," said Zhang, a grandmother in her 70s. "I heard that gold is quite cheap recently so I came here to take a look."

She is acting much more cautiously than Ms. Wang, who spent more than 40,000 yuan on gold at one time.

"I'll buy it sooner or later. The price is so cheap that I decided to buy more,"said Wang. "Had I known the price was 298 yuan yesterday I would've come at that time."

Wufuzhuang Street, dubbed as "jewelry street"in the county, has been swarmed by hectic customers like Wang in the past few days as some gold store owners joked that the street has turned into a vegetable market.

"On April 15 and 16, there were people outside the door (waiting to buy gold) and we had to extend the work time,"said Lin Dong, owner of the Baofeng jewelry store on the street. "Since we had only one cash register, customers had to line up for a long time. The crowd was still there at 5pm."

Customers also flocked into banks in the county to snap up gold products.

"A group of people rushed in on Tuesday morning and asked about the gold price,"said Wei Xiufang, employee of a local branch of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China. "Most of them are elderly women who came in regardless of our advice."

Many banks are already out of gold stocks amid the gold purchase craziness.

"There is no gold left. We can only wait for re-stocking,"said a manager from a local Bank of China. "Several customers bought a few kilograms of gold at a time. The stock we had – less than 20 kilograms – was far below their needs."

"The gold price is unstable. It changes every second. Right now the price is 286 to 288 yuan per gram. We brought in a batch of gold bars in the morning and they were all sold out in the afternoon," he added.

The gold price bounced back a little bit on Thursday and Friday, which is a technical rebound as investors buy on the dips, said an analyst, who suggested not to bottom fish anytime soon as aftermarket risks would remain.

Customers should be prudent with their gold investment, making the purchase based on their own needs, said experts.

Edited by Chen Zhilin and Michael Thai