SALES of gold ahead of next month's Chinese New Year celebrations are flat for most jewelers in the capital despite improving global market prices for the yellow bar.
Local goldsmiths and jewellers interviewed by The Brunei Times said sales have been modest in the past two weeks. They don't expect demand to pick up in the runup to the annual festivities.
A supervisor at YGK Jewellery said there is no rush to buy jewellery ahead of the Chinese New Year as those celebrating it will spend their money on priority items during the festivity. Gold jewellery is not on the top of their list.
He also said sales have been "flat and inconsistent" during the bonus period.
Tri Wahyuningsih, sales assistant at the OKKY Jewellery Sdn Bhd in Kiulap, said sales were "normal" despite hitting $200,000 (S$286,000) throughout the bonus period which started last month.
The branch's monthly target during regular months is $100,000. But she said for the bonus and festive seasons, the company has set minimum sales of $250,000/month for each of its major branches.
"We have not seen Chinese customers rushing to buy gold jewelry for the festivity (Chinese New Year). I think they will prioritise their spending for food supply," she said.
Wahyuningsih said most of the customers during the period were Malay.
"As usual, sales will be better at the beginning of the year because government servants would have just received their end of year bonuses," she said.
A staff of a jewellery store in the capital said only a few consumers spend on gold, noting they were spending their money on other items.
In Brunei, the 24-carat gold is currently priced at $63 per gramme, while the 22-carat is priced at $59 per gramme.
Reuters reported yesterday spot gold was down 0.5 per cent at US$1,088.10 an ounce at 1251 GMT, while US gold futures for February delivery were down US$8.20 an ounce at US$1,088.
Global gold prices retreated after soaring to a two-month high last week on the back of falling oil prices and concerns over the Chinese economy and tumbling stock markets.
The Brunei Times