Gold Rush From Dubai to Turkey Saps Supply as Premiums Jump – by Glenys Sim (Bloomberg News – April 30, 2013)

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Surging demand for gold from Dubai to Istanbul has pushed physical premiums in the region to levels not seen in years as the biggest price slump in three decades lures consumers, according to MKS (Switzerland) SA.

Premiums paid by wholesalers and bulk buyers in Dubai to secure a 1 kilogram bar of bullion are being quoted between $6 an ounce and $9 an ounce over the London cash price, said Frederic Panizzutti, global head of marketing and sales at the Swiss-based bullion refiner. That compares with about 50 cents before the rout, Panizzutti, also chief executive officer of MKS Precious Metals DMCC, said in an interview from Dubai.

Gold fell to the lowest in more than two years this month on speculation that the global economy is recovering, unleashing a purchasing frenzy among coin and jewelry buyers from China to the U.S. Consumer demand for jewelry, bars and coins in Turkey and the Middle East represented about 9.4 percent of the global total last year, according to the World Gold Council. Bars have been cleared from display in the souks, according to Gerry Schubert, head of precious metals at Emirates NBD PJSC.

“Physical demand has been tremendous in a way I haven’t seen for a number of years,” said Jeffrey Rhodes, global head of precious metals at INTL FCStone Inc., who’s worked in the industry for more than three decades. “The price collapse prompted a physical gold rush and the evidence of the extent of that is the prolonged period of high premiums that we’ve seen. Reports from the gold souks are that business is good,” Rhodes said from Dubai.

Bear Market

Prices plunged 14 percent in the two sessions to April 15, the most since 1983, and reached a low of $1,321.95 an ounce on April 16. Since then, spot bullion has rebounded 11 percent, to trade at $1,471.13 at 1:11 p.m. in Dubai, as the surge in physical demand offsets record outflows from exchange-traded products. Gold is still lower in April, heading for the worst monthly loss since December 2011 amid a bear market.

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