Pakistan gold market likely to reopen on Monday as negotiations continue

Industry stakeholders, investors closely monitor developments as market prepares for potential resumption of trading

By
Shahid Shah
Pakistani women check gold jewellery at a shop in Lahore, Pakistan, on October 11, 2018. — AFP
Pakistani women check gold jewellery at a shop in Lahore, Pakistan, on October 11, 2018. — AFP

  • Future prices expected to be closely aligned with int'l prices. 
  • Prices to be kept high by $2 to $3 than int'l market. 
  • Agencies launch major crackdown on gold mafia, smugglers.


KARACHI: The gold market in Pakistan, which has been shut since last week due to illegal trading activities, is likely to reopen on Monday, The News reported citing an All Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Association (APGJA) spokesperson. 

Moreover, market sources said that continuous negotiations are taking place over the reopening of bullion rates. 

The future gold prices in the local market are expected to be closely aligned with international prices, with a margin of no more than $3 per tola (11.66 grams), according to insiders. 

“It will be kept higher by $2 to $3 than the international market,” said one goldsmith, who did not want to be named.

The bullion rates were supposed to be reinstated on Friday, but the process was delayed due to the illness of the market president, Al-Haj Haroon Rasheed Chand, who is also the head of the APGJA.

The market was closed last week after gold prices jumped by 2.7% to Rs215,000 per tola (11.66 grams), defying a global decline.

Reports suggested that gold was allegedly being sold in Lahore at Rs222,000 per tola and in Peshawar at a staggering Rs230,200 per tola, figures significantly higher than the officially recognised rates.

The authorities detained some market participants on suspicion of creating artificial demand and supply gaps to manipulate the prices. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies have launched a major crackdown on the gold mafia and smugglers, who are accused of manipulating gold prices and evading taxes.

A few days ago, the AFGJA president expressed deep concern upon learning that certain individuals, described as speculators, were engaging in such activities. In response to these unauthorised trading activities, he issued a stern warning, urging those involved to refrain from illegal trade practices.

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. 

Successful negotiations have since occurred between industry representatives and law enforcement agencies in an effort to resolve this situation.

The industry remains vigilant and committed to addressing these concerns, as unauthorised trades have the potential to harm the entire gold industry within the country. Chand reaffirmed his commitment to combating unauthorised trading practices, even if it means facing personal hardship.

He also offered valuable advice to market participants, urging them to conduct gold trades exclusively with cash and rupees, as a means to promote transparency and adhere to local regulations within the gold market.

As the gold market prepares for a potential resumption of trading on Monday, industry stakeholders and investors are closely monitoring developments. The continued challenges highlight the importance of maintaining regulatory control and integrity within the gold market, an essential sector that plays a pivotal role in Pakistan's financial landscape.