GEORGE TOWN: The total value of exported gold jewellery products from Malaysia is seen increasing slightly by about 6.8% to RM4.5bil this year from the RM4.2bil in 2011, due to expected price stability this year.
Penang Goldsmith Association (PGA) chairman Joeson Khor told StarBiz that the price of gold was at present around US$1,680 per ounce, compared with US$1,900 per ounce at the end of August.
“Gold prices should remain quite stable for the year 2012, hovering around US$1,700 to US$1,850 per ounce by mid-2012.
“The stability of gold prices in the first half of the year should stimulate overseas buying and help raise gold jewellery export figures by a single digit percentage.
“We expect exports to the Middle East this year to increase,” he said.
The rising tension between the United States and Iran could be a factor in pushing up gold prices, Khor said.
Due to the weakening economies of the United States and Europe, jewellery manufacturers are now reducing the gold karat of jewellery to make them more affordable.
For example, jewel manufacturers worldwide were now making more nine-karat gold jewelleries rather than 18-karat gold jewelleries to make the pricing more attractive, he said.
On the growing popularity of silver, Khor said due to high gold prices, jewellery manufacturers worldwide were now using silver to make jewelleries.
“For example, silver is used in place of gold with cubic zirconia to sell to the US and European markets, where the economies are weakening. In the semiconductor business, there is also a trend to use silver to replace gold in semiconductor devices, as silver is cheaper than gold,” he added.
The price of silver per ounce now hovers at around US$33, compared with about US$26 per ounce in December 2011.
“The price of silver should remain stable between US$26 and US$36 per ounce this year,” he said. :- the star