Gold price hits new life-high of Rs188,600 per tola in Pakistan

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KARACHI: Gold was unstoppable on Wednesday too as it nailed yet another life-high with its safe-haven appeal growing stronger amid rupee depreciation and a dollar dearth. According to All-Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA), the price of gold soared by Rs900 per tola and Rs772 per 10 grams to reach Rs188,600 and Rs161,694 respectively. Based on the difference in price compared to the Dubai market, Pakistani gold is pricier than the world markets. Traders see the gold price touching Rs200,000 per tola due to the rupee devaluation against the US dollar under the current cycle as well as the non-availability of the greenback. The inflow of $6-8 billion from multilateral and bilateral creditors will burst the gold price bubble in Pakistan, market observers said. Meanwhile, the price of silver per tola remained flat at Rs2,150. Likewise, the 10-gram silver price was almost unchanged at Rs1,843.27. Gold prices extended their New Year rally to jump more than 1% and hit their highest since mid-June on Wednesday, helped by a weaker dollar and growing expectations of less aggressive interest rate hikes at upcoming Federal Reserve meetings.  Spot gold rose 1.2% to $1,862.32 per ounce by 1119 GMT, hitting its highest since June 13. US gold futures also gained 1.2% to $1,868.30. The dollar index, meanwhile, slipped 0.6%, making gold less expensive for overseas investors. There is some optimism in the market ahead of the release of minutes from the Fed’s December meeting later in the day, Kinesis Money external analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said.  “Majority of investors are betting on a 0.25% rate hike in the next Fed meeting, differently from a few weeks ago, when another 0.50% rate was given as almost sure.” Pakistan’s inflation figures for December were released on Monday, with markets now pricing in a chance the central bank might hike interest rates by a full 50-100 basis points on January 23. Although gold is considered a hedge against higher inflation and a safe store of value in times of uncertainty, higher interest rates raise the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

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