Gold shines at new peak near Rs250,000 per tola

Published April 17, 2024
In international market, the yellow metal hit all-time high at $2,391 per ounce on Tuesday.—AFP
In international market, the yellow metal hit all-time high at $2,391 per ounce on Tuesday.—AFP

KARACHI: A $20 per ounce jump in world gold rates on Tues­day pushed the local 10-gram and one-tola prices to new all-time highs of Rs214,077 and Rs249,700, respectively, up Rs2,057 and Rs2,400 from Monday.

As per rates issued by the All Sindh Saraf and Jewellers Association (ASSJA), the international gold price swelled to $2,391 per ounce, an all-time high amid escalating tension after the Iranian attack on Israel.

The massive increase in domestic gold rates might create problems for families that had opted to wait to buy finished jewellery sets and ornaments after Eidul Fitr, as the marriage season begins after Ramazan.

Market analysts offered a different views whether people are investing in gold or testing other investment options amid fear of further price hikes, given geo-political tensions.

“Some people in Pakistan are investing in gold and trading in the yellow metal futures at the Pakistan Mercantile Exchange,” said Topline Securities Ltd Chief Executive Mohammad Sohail, adding that large amounts of savings are also going into bank deposits and fixed-income funds generating close to 20pc return these days.

Pak Kuwait Investment Comp­any Ltd Head of Research Samiullah Tariq said real estate has been a major investment avenue due to higher historic returns.

Retailers charging high flour prices

Huge wheat imports further brought down the flour no. 2.5 prices to Rs104 from Rs106 per kg before Eidul Fitr, while they were at their peak of Rs124 per kg in February.

“The wheat flour rate has plunged below the commissioner Karachi’s wholesale and retail rates of Rs123 and Rs128 per kg, respectively,” Karachi Whole­salers Grocers Group Chairman Rauf Ibrahim said, urging the commissioner to issue updated lists as retailers are fleecing the consumers based on higher official rates.

“After the price reduction, the price of naan and chapati should drop to Rs15 and Rs10 per piece,” he said, asking the commissioner to take notice of higher prices of bread and bakery products despite a declining trend in flour rates. Naan sells at Rs25-30 per piece, while chapati is available at Rs15-18.

He said the retail price of chakki flour is still hovering at Rs160-170 per kg while it should be below Rs135 per kg.

Mr Rauf said the fine and super fine flour varieties are being retailed at Rs145-160 per kg, thus challenging the government’s writ in the retail market segment.

Pakistan Flour Mills Assoc­iation (PFMA), Sindh Zone, Chairman Aamir Abdullah said the millers had reduced the 10kg bag of wheat flour to Rs978 from Rs1,070 before Rama­zan, while it was Rs1,250 in February.

He said the ex-mill rate of flour no.2.5 has been slashed to Rs97 per kg from Rs124 in February.

He said maida (superfine flour) and fine flour prices had been fixed at Rs132 and Rs135 per kg compared to Rs138 and Rs141 before Ramazan.

Since September 2023, the private sector has imported around 3.2 million tonnes of wheat from Russia and Ukraine at lower international prices, and the rupee appreciation has further reduced its landed cost.

Mr Aamir said the price of imported wheat has dropped to Rs8,000-8,700 per 100kg bag from Rs10,800, while local wheat is available at Rs8,900 vs Rs9,500.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2024

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