Thais rush to buy gold after price plunge, despite threat of bear market

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Pattaya residents rushed to buy gold after the world prices plunged 30 percent in a week.

The Gold Traders Association cut the buying price of gold by 2,350 baht per baht-weight April 17 following an mysterious plunge in world gold prices. Gold shops were paying 18,900 baht for the yellow metal and selling it at 19,000 baht. Gold shops were paying 18,631 baht for ornaments and selling them for as little as 19,400 baht.

The fall in world prices remained largely unexplained and the market recovered slightly in the days following the plunge. While market experts speculated about market manipulation, others noted that gold prices had peaked in 2011 and have been declining gradually since. This month’s selloff, they said, could mark the start of a prolonged bear market for gold that will leave Thais who rushed to buy with heavy losses for months or years to come.

Gold shops have been busy since the recent drop in prices.Gold shops have been busy since the recent drop in prices.

The last bear market for gold ran from 1996-1999, knocking 40 percent off the price of the precious metal.

Despite the risk, Thais rushed to gold markets, saying they’d not seen prices ever fall as fast and felt they’d be wasting an opportunity if they didn’t buy.

Suchada Technasak, owner of Yaowarat gold shop on Central Road, said the price drop was the largest she’d seen in 10 years of business. Sales have been brisk since.

“It’s quite exciting to see so many people rushing to buy gold,” Suchada said.