THE gold market in
Myanmar has experienced a downturn this year that, experts
say, is a market contrast to previous years when Yangon's
gold shops have seen fluctuating prices amidst frantic
buying and selling.
According to tradition, Myanmar people usually buy gold if
they have extra money, hence the saying, 'Gold means food
when you haven't money and ornaments when you have plenty'.
Business people have always bought gold as a commodity for
trade and investment.
In the past year though, gold purchases have fallen, gold
shop owners on Mahabandoola Road in Latha and Lanmadaw
townships told Myanmar Times. They say sales - and gold
prices - have decreased since the beginning of February,
while prices have varied less since the beginning of the
At the end of April, a tical (a traditional unit of weight
in Southeast Asia that equals 16.4 grams or 0.567 ounces) of
gold was selling for about K180,000 a decrease of K30,000 a
tical on prices in January 2003.
"Gold sales have dropped by about 30 per cent this year
compared to January 2003," said Daw San San Oo, the owner of
Shwe Lee gold shop on Mahabandoola Road.
"Sales have been worse since Thingyan. The fact that the
price of gold is unlikely to increase this year means sales
are likely to drop further," she added.
Sources in the gold industry say sales of light gold
jewellery have not been as badly affected as sales of
"Sales have decreased on heavy gold chains and bracelet
weighting 20 ticals ( 11.34 ounces), 10 ticals (5.67 ounces)
or five ticals (2.835 ounces); people used to buy these
items to save. Small chains that weigh one or two ticals are
now selling better (than heavier jewellery)," said Ma Mya
Kay, the owner of Shwe Sin gold shop on Mahabandoola Road.
Dr Thet Thet Khine, the owner of Shwe Nan Daw gold shop,
agreed that this year has seen a marked fall in gold sales
which are subject to seasonal variations.
"Gold sales usually drop after Thingyan and remain low until
the end of the rainy season. October to December is the best
time for gold sales," she said, adding that after Thingyan
owners of gold will often sell to raise money.
On the world market, the price of gold has remained
relatively stable this year, experts say, similar to