Dubai handles 10 per cent of the world’s physical gold each year. According to the World Gold Council regional office in Dubai, annual gold consumption in the United Arab Emirates, in terms of sales, registered a 21 per cent increase in 2005 compared to the previous year (from Dh5.1 billion in 2004 to Dh6.2 billion in 2005). The figures place Dubai and United Arab Emirates as one of the top ten gold consuming countries in the world.
Dubai and United Arab Emirates imported 522 tonnes of gold in 2005, up from 502 tonnes in 2004. A survey released in 2006 indicated that shoppers in Dubai and United Arab Emirates spend on average 30 times more on gold than the rest of the world. Seventy per cent of gold buyers were from South Asia, followed by 22 per cent from East Asia, and with Arab and European consumers accounting for 4 per cent each of the total.
The United Arab Emirates provides many opportunities for gold lovers to purchase fine quality jewellery. There are approximately 350 outlets in Dubai’s Gold Souq and between them they display about 20 tonnes of jewellery at any given time. Dubai and United Arab Emirates shoppers buy an average of 30 grams of gold annually compared to the global average of less than 1 gram.