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Jewelers in hopes of a golden day

SHANGHAI jewelers are expecting today, Valentine's Day, to boost sales of gold jewelry.

"We are hoping it will revive our sales," Wang Ensheng, deputy general manager of Shanghai Laofengxiang Co, said yesterday. "It's a trend in the market to present gold jewelry as gifts."

Chen Jiu, general manager of Shanghai Lao Miao Jewelry Co, said: "The young generation are fans of Western festivals and Valentine's Day is helping us to target the group."

Wang said that gold jewelry sales this year were less than a year ago, due to higher gold prices and the curb on demand due to the global financial crisis.

"Since the fallout from the global financial crisis hit home, consumers are more cautious about luxuries such as gold jewelry," Wang said. "Higher gold prices, which used to fuel gold jewelry sales during prosperity, turned out to be a pressure this year."

However, Chen said that the eagerness to buy gold even when prices rose was still evident at Lao Miao.

The higher gold price can add to gold jewelry's desirability as it shows gold's lasting value, he said.

Spot gold prices at the Shanghai Gold Exchange rose 4 percent last week for 99.5 percent pure gold - the kind used to make gold jewelry.

The World Gold Council said earlier this week that 76 percent of respondents in a survey of major gold markets, including India, China and the United States, said Valentine's Day was emerging as a key date for gold gifts.

The World Gold Council said that the economic slowdown could restrain consumer spending on gold jewelry in China but the demand for gold bullion as an investment, however, was likely to benefit from continued economic uncertainty.

Gold prices witnessed a roller coaster last year, hitting a record high of more than US$1,200 an ounce earlier in the year and then tumbling to US$740 an ounce in the fourth quarter before recovering to US$940 this month.


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