KARACHI: Consumers on Monday remained in a dilemma at jewellery shops due to the absence of official gold rates, which are typically issued by the All Pakistan Gem and Jewellers Association (APGJA) on a daily basis.

The association had suspended the issuance of daily gold rates from last Wednesday after law enforcement agencies cracked down on alleged speculative trading and smuggling.

Gold shops are open, but consumers are confused when it comes to purchasing gold-related items or selling old jewellery or gold bars because they do not know whether the rates provided are genuine or artificial. Most buyers do not check the world gold rate or the rupee-dollar parity before making their gold jewellery purchases.

Gold traders at Ayesha Manzil and Karimabad on Monday offered different prices, with some of them not ready to quote the bullion rate.

Based on the last rate of one tola at Rs215,000, which was issued last Tuesday, some traders hinted at a rate of Rs216,000, while others offered Rs218,000. On last Tuesday, 10 grams of gold were priced at Rs184,585 based on the world market rate of $1,911 per ounce.

They said that gold traders are now at liberty to set any rate.

“A customer may find a rate above Rs230,000 per tola for 24 karat gold or below Rs215,000 per tola, depending on the negotiations with the traders,” they added.

Given the continuous strengthening of the rupee against the dollar, the domestic rate should have either remained unchanged or decreased, depending on the decline in the world bullion rate. Even if the world market had experienced an increase, the rising value of the rupee against the greenback would have mitigated the negative impact of the rise in the world price.

The association conveyed a message within its group on Monday, indicating that the situation had not yet stabilised, and rates had not been set due to the absence of its president Haroon Rasheed Chand, who was visiting various cities. The rates would be determined after his return.

Regarding the delay in issuing daily rates, Mr Chand stated, “old transactions on previous rates are being cleared and it may take a few more days to start releasing daily gold rates.”

The gold rate crisis had arisen when five gold traders were picked up by law enforcement agencies last week on speculative trading and other charges. They were later unconditionally released after assurance given by the association’s president to control speculation, promote legal trade and encourage documentation in the trade.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2023

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