Vietnam is one of the world's major gold consumers. Photo: Dao Ngoc Thach
With unpredictable changes in gold bar prices, Vietnamese investors have taken up interest in jewelry, with consumption jumping more than 19 percent year-on-year in the first six months to 8.1 tons, according to the World Gold Council's latest report.
In the second quarter, Vietnam was one of the only two markets in Asia, besides Japan, saw a rise in jewelry consumption, up 22 percent to 3.7 tons, while elsewhere across the region declines happened due to different reasons. Japan's jewelry consumption rose 5 percent to 3.9 tons.
The council said the interest in jewelry was triggered by lower prices and that improved gross domestic product growth also offered further support.
Moreover, although local gold prices were always higher than international prices, the gap was bigger for tael bars, US$100-150 per ounce, compared to $40-50 for chi rings, which made the latter "a more attractive investment tool," it said.
Prices listed by the country's authorized gold bar producer SJC decreased 2.8 percent since the beginning of this year, while the world prices declined 6.6 percent, news website Saigon Times Online reported on Monday.
SJC bars are now priced at around VND4.8 million ($213.5) per tael.
Vietnam consumed 10.8 tons of gold bars in the second quarter, down 12 percent year on year, the World Gold Council said.
Speaking to Saigon Times Online, Nguyen Cong Tuong, deputy chief of Saigon Jewelry Company (SJC)'s sales department, also confirmed the reduced interest in the demand for gold bars.
SJC's daily sales were around a few hundreds of taels these days, peaking at 1,000, which were much lower than the average of 2,000 tales a day in previous years, Tuong said.
Vietnam consumed a total of 33.3 tons of gold bars and jewelry over the first six months, down about 4.5 percent year on year, according the World Gold Council's report.
Last year the country, one of the world's major gold consumers, consumed around 69.1 tons of gold.