Friday April 12, 2024

Gold Market stays closed, speculators drive up prices

By Shahid Shah
September 20, 2023

KARACHI: The official bullion market remained closed for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday following a crackdown on speculators, but some dealers said gold was being traded unofficially at inflated prices.

The market was shut last week after gold prices jumped by 2.7 percent to Rs215,000 per tola (11.66 grams), defying a global decline. The authorities detained some market participants on suspicion of creating artificial demand and supply gaps to manipulate the prices.

In Lahore, gold was reportedly being sold at Rs222,000 per tola, and in Peshawar, transactions were reported at a staggering Rs230,200 per tola, significantly higher than the officially recognised rates.

The president of the All Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Association (APGJA), Haroon Rasheed Chand, expressed deep concern over the unauthorised trading activities and warned of severe consequences for those involved.

He cautioned that if such activities persisted, law enforcement agencies would take action, emphasising that there would be severe consequences for those found violating the law.

It is worth mentioning that the intelligence and law enforcement agencies have launched a major crackdown on the gold mafia and smugglers, who are accused of manipulating the gold prices and evading taxes.

The government has formed a task force, comprising officials from various agencies, to take decisive action against the gold mafia and smugglers, who have been identified and listed by the authorities.

The objective behind constituting the task force is to nab the mafia and smugglers so that legal action could be taken against them. The government has also decided to start work on a war footing to computerise the sale and purchase of gold and bring the gold dealers into the tax net.

Chand said a successful negotiation had taken place between industry representatives and law enforcement agencies in an effort to resolve the situation.

Lamenting the detrimental impact these unauthorised trades could have on the entire gold industry in the country, the APGJA president went on to assert his commitment to addressing the issue.

He declared that if these speculative activities continued unchecked, he would not hesitate to step down from his role as the head of the bullion market.

He further suggested all market participants to stick to trading in the domestic currency. Chand advised all marketparticipants to conduct gold trade exclusively in cash and Pakistani rupees, rather than opting for foreign currencies like the US dollar, British pound, or the euro. “This counsel is aimed at promoting transparency and adherence to local regulations within the gold market,” he added.

As the situation surrounding the reopening of the gold market remains uncertain, industry stakeholders and investors are closely monitoring developments. The ongoing challenges underscore the importance of maintaining regulatory control and integrity within the gold market, which plays a crucial role in the country’s financial landscape.