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Gold sales go up as Thais sell jewelry to pay for routine expenses

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PHOTO: Thai Gold Store

With job losses and pay cuts brought on by the pandemic, many Thais are lining up to sell their gold to bring in some cash, like 22 year old Suvirat Namvicha, an office worker in Bangkok who had her overtime expenses cut. Survirat, who is also pregnant, says she needed to sell a gold necklace to pay for her medical bills.

“I need money to pay my bills, and selling gold is my best option. I may need to sell my last gold necklace after my baby is born. Looking ahead, I only see rising expenses with limited income.”

Gold exports surged this year. Thais have sold gold jewelry, bars and medallions to get some quick cash for basic expenses. Chief executive officer of Thailand’s top gold grader YLG Bullion International, Pawan Nawawattanasub, says “Gold is easier to sell than land or condominiums.”

“Thai people still have high stockpiles of gold, as the nation has been more of a net importer than exporter in the past.”

From January to October, gold exports spiked to 237.4 metric tonnes, significant increase compared to the 170 tonnes exported in 2019. The trend is expected to continue into 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic puts a strain on tourism and manufacturing industries.

As more gold is shipped out, Thailand’s current-account surplus grows, appreciating the Thai baht which could negatively impact the country’s economic recovery.

To limit currency fluctuation, the Bank of Thailand is encouraging more gold trading using foreign-currency deposits. The Bangkok Bank and gold market place Hua Seng Heng plan to start a programme this month.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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