Spring festival in China saw a marked increase in buying of gold and silver, with specialty stores reporting significant rise in sales.
Though the world’s second largest economy China grew at its slowest pace in 13 years in 2012, the Spring Festival celebrations by the Asian country showed that citizens were eager to leave it all behind and embark on a massive shopping spree.
As compared to last year, sales of gold bars for investment purposes reported a twofold increase. The decline in gold price on the international market was one of the main factors that triggered brisk sales of gold bars.
Retail sales at outlets monitored by the Ministry of Commerce increased 14.7% during the February 9 to February 15 period this year, as compared to the year ago festival period. Around $86 billion (539 billion yuan) worth of sales took place this year, according to the government.
Sales of gold, silver and jewellery pieces at the monitored establishments increased 38.1%. Though the Ministry did not identify bullion sales in value terms, it said the gold, silver and jewellery market reached a high consumption peak during the period.
In Shanghai particularly, there was brisk buying with sales going up by 10.2%. Good weather encouraged people to go out and spend. Another factor that added to increased sales during the time was Valentine’s Day. Ensuring that shoppers didn’t miss out, many department stores decided to extend their seasonal sales right up to the sixth day of the new year.
The Lunar New Year is the biggest buying season of the year in China. Though this year’s growth has been described as tepid, given China’s anti extravagance campaign, one thing that was not cut off from the shopping list was the citizens craving to splurge on gold.
Addressing mediamen immediately after the Lunar New Year holiday, the Ministry of Commerce said demand for gold, silver and jewellery, home appliances and communication equipment had increased in the month of January. Sales value of gold, silver and jewellery rose 11.7% in January, as compared to the previous month and ahead of the new year celebrations.
The Ministry noted in a statement on February 25, that steep discounts by retailers helped promote Valentine’s Day sales, especially of gold and jewellery. Retailers across the country also saw sales boom during the period, with customers favouring New Year themed gold bars, gold ingots and other types of snake themed jewellery items.
The Spring Festival gives people a chance to present gold items as gifts. Sales volume in Caibai and Guohua, Beijing’s top gold retailers, also soared.
Author: Shivom Seth
Posted: Thursday , 07 Mar 2013