KATHMANDU, April 17:
Most bullion traders closed their shops on Tuesday after the price of gold fell by a further Rs 3,000 per tola (or 11.664 grams) compared to Monday, due to further decline in prices in the international market. Federation of Nepal Gold and Silver Dealers´ Association fixed the price of gold at Rs 49,500 per tola on Tuesday, down from Rs 52,500 per tola a day ago.
The international price of gold went down to $ 1,365.87 per troy ounce from $ 1,450 on Monday.
According to the federation, around 25 percent of jewelry shops were closed in the Valley and most shops in Banepa also closed. “We had no option but to close shop as we do not have gold to sell. Closing shop creates a huge loss for us as it makes it difficult to meet our daily costs such as rent and salaries of staff,” said Mani Ratna Shakya, chairman of the federation.
Shops that stayed opened were not taking orders for jewelry, saying there was no gold available in the market. Some shops said they were selling only to regular customers and or taking orders only for recycling.
However, Upendra Bahadur Karki, deputy general manager of Agricultural Development Bank, said the bank has supplied gold as per quota and there was no problem on the supply side.
A trader requesting anonymity said some shops in the Makhan area were selling gold for as high as Rs 52,000 per tola, which is Rs 2,500 per tola more than the price fixed by the federation.
“I have taken orders from my regular customers although it means suffering a loss, just to maintain client relations. We are not getting gold in the market, which has made it difficult to meet the soaring demand of the wedding season,” said Uttam Shakya, proprietor of Surya Bahadur and Sons Jewelry Shop at Wotu.
People planning to tie the knot this wedding season were seen visiting gold shops on Tuesday. But to their disappointment, they could not buy gold biscuits or coins, with most shops not even selling jewelry.
Rohit Saraogi of Shree Ridhhi Sidhhi Jewellers at Bishal Bazaar said it has been very difficult to sell jewelry at the decreased gold price as they were not getting gold in the market. “However, we are selling jewelry even at a loss just to maintain our image and make sure customers are not put off,” he said.
Meanwhile, the federation has sought an appointment with Chairman of the Interim Election Council Khil Raj Regmi and Finance Minister Shanker Koirala to talk about the problems faced by the bullion trade and press for either an increase in the gold quota or permission to import gold.
DoCSM to monitor market
Department of Commerce and Supply Management (DoCSM) is planning to monitor the gold and jewelry shops as they have received complaints from customers about traders not selling gold or charging higher price.
Narayan Prasad Bidari, director general of DoCSM, said D0CSM and Nepal Rastra Bank officials will soon be monitoring the market as traders seem to have created an artificial shortage in response to the declining price of gold.
“Earlier, we monitored gold shops following complaints about quality and have even taken action against traders. Now also we will take action against those found hoarding gold or charging higher prices,” said Bidari.
Jyoti Baniya, general secretary of the Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights-Nepal (FPCRN), said that unless the government monitors the supply of gold in the market, the problem will continue. “If the government monitors the market we are ready to help bring out gold hidden by traders,” said Baniya.