Before reading this guide to buying gold bullion and silver bullion in the United Arab Emirates, please read the basic guide to buying gold and silver.
Gold is popular in the United Arab Emirates, with Dubai being known as the Middle East region’s gold hub and the the world’s largest re-exporter of gold. Its popularity on the world gold stage has grown with the help of the Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre (DMCC), the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX), the Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group (DGJG) and its annual ‘City of Gold’ Conference and Dubai Shopping Festival promotion, as well as having regionally known refineries (Emirates Gold, Al Ghurair Giga Gold, Al Ghaith Gold, and Al Etihad Gold). Each emirate/city has one or more jewellery shopping malls and souqs/markets/areas – Abu Dhabi (Madinat Zayed Gold Centre), Dubai (Dubai Gold Souq, The Gold Center, Gold Land, New Gold Souk, Dubai Gold & Diamond Park), Sharjah (Central Market, The Gold Centre), Ajman (Gold Souq), Ras Al Khaimah (Al Muairedh Souq). Swiss gold accounts for a large volume of gold that comes in and out of the UAE and the popular available Swiss brands include PAMP Suisse, Valcambi SA, and Credit Suisse.
United Arab Emirates Gold and Silver Prices
Gold rates are fixed twice a day by the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, which can be found on their website or by calling their hotline number 04-2291214 and then pressing 1 for the daily 22 carats and 24 karats prices. Gold and silver prices can also be found at the Khaleej Times’ forex page, which includes the morning, evening and yesterday’s rates for gold 18, 22, and 24 karat per gram, ten tola (TT) gold bar, and the 1 kilogram silver bar (which unfortunately is over quoted by AED 120). Another online source of the gold and silver prices is at the Emirates NBD bank’s website, which has the spot dirham gold and silver prices in ounces, grams, kilograms and ten tola.
The 24 karat gold fixed price per gram is calculated by taking the London fixed price or the spot bid price per gram in UAE dirhams (AED or Dhs) and then rounding it up to the closest quarter and then adding an additional 2 dirhams. The additional 2 dirhams attached to the price is the base premium added to the price of gold bars and coins equal to or under 100 grams. The 1 kilogram silver bar price can be calculated by adding 1 dollar to the USD ounce silver spot bid price and then multiplying that by 118.123 (which is a oz to kilo and USD to AED value) and adding an additional 20 dirhams. The gold premium over spot will normally be between 2 and 4 percent for bullion bars below 101 grams and the silver premium over spot will normally be between 2 and 3.5 percent for half and 1 kilogram bars (as of Feb 2012). The gold and silver premiums will normally increase when the market goes down or inventory becomes scarce.
What to Buy?
For gold bullion bar purchases, I recommend going for PAMP, Valcambi, Argor Heraeus, Credit Suisse, Commerzbank (german), Emirates Gold or Al Etihad wafers/biscuits/bars, which have a fixed premium (aka making/fabrication charge) depending on the weight of the bar – the larger the bar, the smaller the premium (approx. AED 4.5/g for 10g and AED 2.25/gr for 1 oz). For gold bullion coins, you can find international 1 oz gold coins from the United States, Canada, Austria, Australia and China for premiums of AED 300 to 500, but the 21.6 karat Mexican 50 Peso 40-gram gold coin found in the UAE is a locally minted replica with a low premium of AED 40 to 100. For silver bullion purchases, I recommend the 1 or 1/2 kilo bar from local brands like Emirates Gold, Al Ghaith, Al Etihad Gold, and Kaloti Dubai, or turkish mint Nadir Metal Rafineri (Nadir Metal Refinery), as well as 100 and 50 gram bars minted by Nadir or turkish mint Istanbul Altin Rafinerisi [IAR] (Istanbul Gold Refinery). I don’t recommend other silver bars and coins found in the local market as they charge a premium above the daily silver price per gram, in addition to a making charge, which results in premiums of 20 to 50 percent, except the 1 oz silver coin by Nadir. I recommend that if you can’t afford a 1/2 kg silver bullion bar, that you go for the 1 to 8 gram 21 or 22 karat ‘George V’ or ‘Victoria Jubilee’ British Gold Sovereign gold coins (these are minted locally), as they are the best value for money gold or silver bullion coin or bar, with a making charge of only AED 5 and 10. The most stable time to purchase gold or silver is on Saturday and Sunday, as the price is not being traded on the international exchanges until Monday at 2AM. Standard purity for locally minted gold 1 and half kilo bars is 995 or 999 and purity for locally minted silver 1 and half kilo bars is 999.
Where to Go?
My personal favourite bullion shop in the Emirates is Al Abyad Jewellers [06-5731961], as they have everything I want all under one roof and are a major bullion dealer for shops in Sharjah and Ajman. There selection includes gold bars (PAMP, Valcambi, Commerzbank, Argor-Hereaus, Emirates Gold), PAMP pendants (oval, heart and diamond shaped with standard, kaba, disney and rose designs, that have higher making charges), Valcambi coins (1 to 100 grams), PAMP silver bars (1 oz, 50g, 100g, 1kg – couldn’t find PAMP silver bars anywhere else in UAE) and oval-shaped pendants (5g to 1oz), Credit Suisse 10 tola (116.6 grams) gold bars, Emirates Gold silver bars (1/2 and 1 kilo), Gold Sovereign 21k/22k gold coins (1/2, 1, 2, 4, 8, 20, 40 grams), Turkish 21k/22k gold coins (1, 1.8, 3.6, 7.2, 18, 36 grams), Saudi Arabian 21k/22k gold coins (4, 8 grams), Mexican Peso gold coin, international gold coins (Canadian Maple Leaf, American Gold Eagle, South African Krugerrand, Austrian Philharmonic, Australian Kangaroo/Nugget, Chinese Panda), range of silver coins (including a 1kg Australian coin), Gold Sovereign silver coin (5 grams with around 33% premium), and 1 oz Valcambi palladium bars. So if you decide to go there, they are on the 1st floor of the south-east corner of the building and tell them that Yusuf Patan (my nickname at the shop) or Sunnah Money sent you.
On Dubai’s Deira side of the creek, all the stores are located in what is known as the Gold Souk/Market area. If you are travelling by bus, you can access all of the shops by travelling to the Gold Souq Bus Station, else if you are travelling by car, you can park at the gold souk paid parking next to the bus station (nearly impossible to find a parking space, unless your ready to drive around waiting in the car for atleast half an hour) or on the opposite side of the road at the fish market paid parking (normally always available, but paid parking lasts from 8am – 11pm daily, including fridays).
I recommend buying PAMP and Emirates Gold gold bars (1 gram to 1 kilo) and 1 kilogram Al Ghaith silver bar from Anjali Jewellers [04-2253487], Valcambi gold bars and coins and 1 kg Al Etihad silver bar from Lakhoo Jewellery [04-2264050] (they are the largest dealer of Valcambi and also have the Valcambi minted Gold Sovereign – turn right in the Gold Souq at the blue sign of Al Matrooshi), 1 and half kilo Emirates Gold silver bars from Ceetees Silver Gallery [04-2262878], 1 kilogram Al Etihad gold or silver bars from Al Bahrain Jewellery [04-2269514/04-2259012], 100 or 50 gram IAR Turkish silver bars can be found at Fine Gold [04-2256611] or Jewel Trading – Head Office [04-2290190], and Gold Sovereign coins can be purchased in The Gold Center building from Vijaya [04-2264635] (1, 2, 4, 8, 20 grams), Atlas [04-2254235], Joyalukkas (Shop 10) [04-2253646], and Elite Jewellers [04-2265355] (8, 20, 50 grams). Jewel Trading – Head Office also offers in 10g, 20g, 1/2 oz and 1 oz PAMP silver oval and diamond shaped pendants with Ayat Al Kursi, hologram (Kaba, Lady Fortuna), Lady Fortuna, and Rose designs. Wajdi Intl. Jewellery Traders [04-2265769] has international 1 ounce silver coins (US, AUS, CAD with approx. 120% premium), and international 1 oz gold coins (CA, US, AU, CN, ZA with AED 450-500 premium). The benefit of buying gold from Anjali is that they normally charge AED 1 below the current rate per gram, the cheapest 1 kilogram silver bar can normally be found at Nadir (they charge $0.50 above spot per ounce), and Vijaya only charges AED 5 making charge for the Sovereign.
Jewel Trading – Gold Souk [04-2351114] has a selection of silver bars (25 to 500 grams) and coins (5 to 100 grams) with various designs (they charge a fixed price per gram no matter the size, approx. 30% premium), and Just Jewels [04-2255711] has a selection of 21k iranian coins. The Gold Oasis Building contains Al Sawar Jewellery [04-2290593] that has 1 and 1/2 oz gold Kanagroos, and the Gold House Building has Rumail Jewellery [04-2202990] that has 5g, 10g, 20g, 1oz, 50g, 100g IAR silver bars as well as 1 and 1/2 kilo Emirates or Kaloti silver bars, and as a last resort to find 50 and 100 gram PAMP gold bars, you can check out BRR Jewellery [04-2258777]. Another gold and silver bullion shop that can be checked in Vin Gold [04-2254277] which has 1 – 100g and TT gold bars ($1.50/oz over spot to buy and -$2.00/oz under spot to sell) and 1 kg silver bars.
- Gold Centre Building Offices -
The offices located above the ground and mezzanine floors of the Gold Centre building include companies like Jewel Trading – Head Office [Zone 2, Floor 3], Kaloti Jewellery Group [04-2256633 - Zone 3, Floor 2 - Sells its own branded 1 kilo of gold and silver, and offers gold testing], PAMP Gold [04-2261998 - Floor 3 - Main distributor of gold PAMP bars], Al Bahrain Jewellers – Bullion Division [04-2262286 - Zone 1, Floor 4 - Sells Etihad Gold TT and 1 kilo gold and 1 kilo silver bars], and Nadir Gold [04-2342347 - Zone 2, Floor 6 - distributor of DMCC approved Turkish mint Nadir Metal Rafineri’s 1-kilo gold and silver bars].
- Bur Dubai -
On Dubai’s Bur Dubai side of the creek, most of the stores can be found in the Al Souk district, which can be accessed through Khalid bin Al Waleed Street (aka Bank or Computer Street). If you are travelling by car, attempting to park within the district will be next to impossible, so the best thing is to park on Khalid bin Al Waleed Street in the public paid parking near Copper Chimney Hotel and Dolphin Hotel Apartments, else in the private paid parking areas next to Ascot Hotel or Quality Computers.
I recommend you buy gold bullion bars and 8g Gold Sovereign coins from Gold House [04-3534474], for 1 kg silver bullion bar you can check Mikado Jewellers [04-3512511] (they also have 10, 20, 31.1, 50, 100 grams bars – the larger the bar, the lower the premium), for silver coins you can check Jewel Trading – Bur Dubai [04-3511174] (approx. 33% premium), and for small silver bars you can check House of Silver [04-3535453] (25, 50, 100, 250 gram bars) as they had reasonable premiums. The New Gold Souk building had only two shops with bullion, Mohanlal Vallabhdas & Bros [04-3989469] had a few PAMP and Valcambi bars, while Suhaily Jewellery [04-3266170] had Valcambi minted 4 and 8 gram 22k Gold Sovereigns.
- Sheikh Zayed -
For those living on and around Sheikh Zayed Road (sometimes referred to as ‘New Dubai’), the Dubai Gold & Diamond Park (in front of First Gulf Bank metro station and opposite to Mall of the Emirates) is the place to go. For gold, silver and platinum bars and coins, I recommend G.B. Jewellers [04-3406104] (speak to Mr Gaurav and tell him Yousuf Patan sent you). As a second alternative for gold and silver bars or to get Gold Sovereigns coins, check Classic Diamonds [04-3473696]. I don’t recommend any other shops but noticed that these shops also had a selection – Emirates Diamonds Jewellery [04-3400851], Kanz Jewels [04-3400557], and Damas [04-3479663].
- Dubai Airport -
In the Airport Duty Free of Dubai International Airport Terminals 1 (Rashid Terminal) & 3 (Emirates Terminal near Gate 217) are gold stalls which sells PAMP gold bars (1 gram to 1 kilo) and international gold coins (American, Canadian, Australian, South African) for those wishing to buy gold on their stopover in the airport. The premium for gold was AED 30 to 40 above the local market price per gram and didn’t included any making charges, which turned out to be around a 10 percent premium.
- Shopping Malls -
No matter which shopping mall that you visit in Dubai, there will not doubt be jewellery shops in it and you should be able to get some gold bars or coins in shops like Damas, Malabar, Pure Gold, and Joy Alukkas. In Festival Centre’s ‘Dubai Gold Market’ (Dubai Festival City) you can check Skyze [04-2328485] for gold bars and La Marquise [04-2328599] for 1-8 gram Gold Sovereigns (charging making charges of AED 25 – 75). In Dubai Mall’s ‘The Gold Souk’ you can check Young Line International Jewellery [04-4340347] for gold bars (1 to 500g) and silver bars (100g, 500g and 1kg).
- Others -
If you would like to find a jewellery shop closer to your area, you can browse through shops in Ghusais, central Deira, central Bur Dubai, Karama, Satwa, and Jumeirah to see which ones may have gold bullion bars or coins. It is possible that jewellery shops in various shopping malls and centers will also have bullion, but they will likely charge higher premiums. Some more popular jewellery shops will have their own branded bullion coins or bars like ARY, Malabar, Al Fardan, Joy Alukkas and Lakhoo. The World Gold Council (WGC) has its list of gold coins and small bars dealers in Dubai.
- Metal Testing -
I have seen gold and silver testing facilities at Kaloti Jewellery Group’s office in the Gold Centre building as well as at Harshad Laboratory [04-2251013] (they charge AED 30 for testing and AED 25 per kilo for melting).
Sharjah & Ajman
Sharjah – Other than Abyad in Sharjah’s Central Market, Moni Jewellers [06-5724078] has 21k/22k Gold Sovereign coins (2, 4, 8 gr) and PAMP bars (1 to 100 grams), Beach Jewellers [06-5730678 - Block 1 Shop 5] has 50, 100 gram Turkish IAR silver bars, 1 troy ounce gold coins with AED 500 premiums (CAN, AUT, USD, CHN, AUS), American Eagle 1 oz gold coin (AED 700 premium) and fractional ounce gold coins from Canada (1/2, 1/4) and Australia (1/2, 1/4, 1/10, 1/20). Al Ayyam Jewellers [06-5731817] has one ounce gold coins from Australia (kangaroo/nugget), Canada (maple leaf) and South Africa (krugerrand) with a premiums of AED 300-400 and the locally minted Mexican Peso for a AED 50 premium (speak to Mr. Jeelesh and mention that you came from Yousuf Patan or Sunnah Money). They also were the only shop in the Emirates that I found the Queen Victoria Gold Sovereign coins. Vrajlal Mohanlal & Sons Jewellers [06-5724812 - Block 4 Shop 19] is a good alternative to Abyad for silver kilo bars (Kaloti or Nadir).
Ajman – With Al Abyad Jewellers in Sharjah, I dont bother going to Ajman’s Gold Souq to buy bullion, but for those who may be limited by time or transportation, you can check Al Mansoor Jewellers [06-7446494] for 21k Gold Sovereigns (1, 2, 4, 8 grams), PAMP gold bars, and Turkish pendants (2.5 – 4 grams) or Al Marwa Jewellery [06-7441750] for PAMP gold bars and 8 gram Gold Sovereigns.
The major gold souqs in Abu Dhabi include the outdoor jewellery area at the junction of Liwa Street and Hamdan Street (Street 5) near the Liwa Center and Ahalia Hospital and the indoor jewellery area in the Madinat Zayed Shopping Mall (aka Madinat Zayed Gold Centre) along New Airport/Muroor Road (Street 4). I recommend visiting Gold Bullion [02-6500777] as they are a dedicated bullion shop with Emirates Gold minted gold bars (1-100g, 1oz, 250g, TT, 1 kilo), silver bars (10g, 20g, 50g, 1oz, 250g, 500g, 1 kilo), gold coins (islamic dinar), silver coins (1 oz), and gold pendants with Ayat Al Kursi (10g, 20g, 1oz). The premiums at Gold Bullion were the cheapest I found in Abu Dhabi for gold (100g – AED 166, 50g – AED 120, 1oz – AED 101, 20g – AED 87) and the cheapest silver can be found at Gold Bullion, Ajanta, Siddiq or Jazira. At the Hamdan Street gold market, Ajanta Jewellers [02-6325223] had PAMP, Valcambi and Argor gold bars, Nadir silver bars (20g, 1oz, 50g, 100g, 1 kilo), gold Sovereigns (2 dirham premium), and 5 kilo Argor silver bar, Al Jazira Jewellers [02-6344141] had PAMP gold bars, Nadir silver bars (5g – 100g, 1oz, 500g), silver kilo bars, and gold Sovereigns, and Anand [02-6324977] had IAR silver bars (10g, 20g, 50g, 100g) and 1 kilo silver bars. The gold premiums at Ajanta and Al Jazira were the same (100g – AED 180, 50g – AED 130, 20g – AED 115, 10g – AED 85, 5g – AED 75, 2.5g – AED 65), except that Al Jazira charged AED 95 for the 20 gram bar. The Madinat Zayed Gold Centre houses 70 jewellery shops and I recommend visiting Al Siddiq Jewellers [02-6326565], which has gold bars (including TT and kilo bars), Nadir 1 kilo silver bars, and gold Sovereigns, and GB Gems had PAMP gold bars, IAR silver bars (5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500g) and Australian gold coins (1/20 to 2 oz). Other shops in the mall you can visit include Al Jazira Jewellery [02-6217414], Al Awadhi Jewellery [02-6332327/6333678], and Al Reyadh Jewellery [02-6319669]. Gold premiums in Abu Dhabi are approximately double the premiums in Dubai.
The Al Ain gold market consists of a few jewellery shops located close to the junction of Zayed ibn Sultan (137th) Street and Salahuddeen Al Ayyubi (116th) Street. I recommend visiting Jasmin Jewellers [03-7655006] for PAMP gold bars, Gold Sovereigns (AED 15 making charge), Turkish gold coins, and Mexican gold coins and Khalid Javid Jewellers [03-7660590] for TT bars and 1 Al Ghaith kilogram silver bars (AED 150 above market price). Some of the other shops in the area include Reema Jewellery [03-7665996] (has 1/2 kilo silver bars), Abid Ali Taj Jewellers [03-7660390], Al Nakhada Jewellery [03-7666997], and Al Badia Jewellery [03-7667177]. For those who wish to buy a home safe, Al Ain Glass Company [03-7641442] is located next to the jewellery shops and has safes ranging from 200 to 4 thousand dirhams. You can find PAMP gold bars in Al Bawadi Mall in Al Badia Jewellery [03-7840303] and Al Romaizan Gold & Jewellery [03-7840981]. Premiums in Al Ain, similar to Abu Dhabi, will be higher than premiums in Dubai.
Platinum and Palladium
There are very few shops in the Emirates that sell platinum and palladium, which include Abyad (palladium), Lakhoos (palladium), GB Jewellers – Gold & Diamond Park (platinum), and Nadir (platinum). If you want to know their global spot price click here, but know as they are less in demand and supply that their local price will likely be high.
Investment Grade Bars
Gold – The two popular gold investment grade bars are the 1 kilogram and ten tola (TT) bars. The 1 kilo bar comes in both 995 and 9999 qualities and local mint Emirates Gold is the most popular, though you can also find it minted from Al Etihad, Al Ghaith, and Kaloti, which will normally be slightly cheaper. The 10 tola bar (116.6 grams) is the lowest investment grade bar and comes in purities of 995.0 and 999.0 which is normally minted by foreign mints like Credit Suisse and Valcambi, but can also be found by local mints like Emirates Gold and Al Etihad. Other less popular/available investment bars include the half kilo Emirates Gold bar found in PAMP Gold (Dubai), Gold Bullion (Abu Dhabi) and Al Abyad (Sharjah) and the quarter kilo Commerzbank bar found at GB Jewellers (Dubai) and Ajanta Jewellers (Abu Dhabi). Premiums (also called margins) on investment grade bars will normally ranging between 1 and 3 hundred dirhams over the spot ‘ask’ price, which will normally be a premium around or below 0.3%. For a price comparison done at the major dealers, please check Malek’s comment from September 2011.
Silver – The popular silver investment grade bar is the 24k (999) 1 kilogram bar by local mint Emirates Gold, though you can also find it minted by Al Etihad, Al Ghaith, Kaloti, Nadir, Credit Suisse and PAMP. As they are investment grade bars, dealers will normally say that they dont have a premium, but the daily quoted 1 kilogram silver price has a US$ 1 premium attached to it and the swiss minted silver bars will have an additional premium attached to it and can normally be gotten at Abyad (Sharjah). The less popular investment grade bar is the half kilo silver bar minted by Emirates Gold, Al Ghaith, Nadir, or IAR, which is available at Ceetees (Dubai) and Abyad (Sharjah with an added AED 100 premium). For bars larger than 1 kilo, I would recommend approaching the mints directly, as you have mints like Al Etihad Gold that mint them from 23 to 34 kilo bars.
Note: Emirates Gold does mint a quarter kilo silver bars, but they are not sold in the local market, but are sold in europe.
Presently, there is only one online store for buying gold and silver and that is provided by Gold.ae [04-4473635]. They have a range of gold coins (4, 8 gm sovereign, 1 oz local & australian) and bars (1 oz – kilo local, 1 – 100g PAMP, TT credit suisse), silver coins (AUS, CAN, AUT) and bars (1 kilo local). They provide Fedex delivery for orders under US$ 5K (approx. AED 40 in Dubai and AED 100 in Abu Dhabi) and by Transguard for orders over US$ 5K (approx. US$ 40 in Dubai and US$ 100 in Abu Dhabi). Payment is accepted by credit card/paypal (with an extra 4% charge) or by ADCB bank deposit (must be deposited within an hour). You can try your luck at online classified and auction websites like Dubizzle.com and Souq.com, but you’ll mainly find collector coins being sold their.
Gold ATM Machines
The ‘Gold to Go’ gold vending machines are springing up around the country in popular hotels, shopping malls, and towers. The ATM-style gold dispenser features a multilingual 19-inch touch screen that display details of the 10 different products shown in the windowed showcase. It has real-time product pricing that is updated every 10 minutes and it accepts payment by cash as well as credit or debit cards. It was first introduced in Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace Hotel in May 2010 and is now also available in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates (Ski Dubai), The Dubai Mall (Galeries Lafayette), Burj Khalifa (Ground and 124th Floors), InterContinental DFC, and Atlantis Palm Hotel. A number of the locations will have unique gold bars advertising that location, including the ‘At the Top’ Burj Khalifa edition, Emirates Palace edition, and Galeries Lafayette edition. When I visited the ATM machine in Dubai Mall, it featured a 1/10 ounce Canadian Maple Leaf, 1/2 and 1 ounce Australian Kangaroo, and various PAMP gold bars and pendants from 1 gram to 1 ounce, while other locations may have the South African Krugerrands.
DMCC Minted Coins
The DMCC launched the UAE’s first souvenir commemorative gold coin series in September 2007 known as the ‘Visions of Dubai’, which is minted by Emirates Gold. The coin comes in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 troy ounce sizes and has the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s (UAE vice president) face on the front and Dubai’s landmark hotel, Burj Al Arab, on the back. It was initially minted as 22k coin, but in October 2009 it was changed to 24k (9999). In 2009, DMCC launched its second edition of the ‘Visions of Dubai’ series with a new image of Sheikh Mohammed’s face on the front and Dubai’s landmark real estate project, Palm Jumeirah, on the back. The ‘Visions of Dubai’ coins are available in jewellery retail outlets in Deira (Joyalukkas) and Bur Dubai (Siroya Jewellers), Dubai shopping malls, Dubai International Airport’s Dubai Duty Free, and Sharjah (Abyad Jewellers). The coins are sold for a fixed premium above spot depending on size, around AED 150 – 200, which in 2011 is around 1% above the daily gold price per ounce.
|‘Vision of Dubai’ Coins|
Burj Al Arab edition
Palm Jumeirah edition
In February 2010, DMCC proposed to the UAE Central Bank the creation of the UAE’s first legal tender gold bullion coin with the face of Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (UAE President) on the front and the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, on the back. In August 2011, DMCC unveiled the prototype for the 1 troy ounce 24 karat (999,0) gold “Khalifa” coin. In December 2011, DMCC unveiled its second UAE gold bullion coin that will feature the portrait of Sheikh Mohammed and the Palm Jumeirah.
UAE Central Bank Coins
The UAE central bank has produced a number of numismatic 22 karat (91.6%) gold coins, including the ‘UAE 5th National Day’ gold coin (face value – 1,000 and 500 dirhams, 40 and 20 grams) in 1976, ‘International Year of the Child’ gold coin (face value – 750 dirhams, 90% gold, 17.17 grams) in 1980, ‘Late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoom’ gold coin (face value – 1,000 and 500 dirhams, 40 and 20 grams) in 1992 and ‘10th Anniversary of the UAE Central Bank’ gold coin (face value – 1,000 and 500 dirhams, 40 and 20 grams) in 1992, ‘20th Anniversary of the General Women’s Union’ gold coin (face value – 1,000 and 500 dirhams, 40 and 20 grams) in 1996, ‘30th Anniversary of the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’ gold coin (200 and 40 grams) in 1996, ‘UAE 25th National Day’ gold coin (200 and 40 grams) in 1996, ‘Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak as Humanitarian Personality of 1998’ gold coin (40 and 20 grams) in 1998.
The UAE central bank has also distributed various sterling silver (92.5%) coins include the ‘10th Anniversary of the UAE Central Bank’ silver coin (face value – 50 dirhams, 40 grams) in 1992, ‘25th Anniversary of the UAE’ silver coin (face value – 50 dirhams, 40 grams) in 1996, ‘25 Years of Oil Production on Abu Al Bukhoosh Oil Field’ silver coin (face value – 25 dirhams, 20 grams) in 1999, ‘100th Anniversary of Dubai Department of Ports and Customs’ silver coin (face value – 100 dirhams, 40 grams) in 2000, and ‘Sheikh Rashid Terminal – Dubai International Airport’ silver coin (face value – 50 dirhams, 40 grams) in 2001. More details of these coins can be found here (UAE Central Bank) and here (ChiefaCoins.com). Those interested in buying these numismatic gold coins can get them in shops in the Sharjah Central Souq including Saeed Jewellers [06-5723591 Block 5/Shop 30], Kiran Jewellers [06-5724803 Block 4/Shop 38], Al Najm Al Zahabi Jewellery [06-5741763 Block 4/Shop 42], and Al Aali Jewellery [06-5747463 Block 4/Shop 39]. Premiums on these 22 karat UAE gold coins start from AED 350.
How Much, When, and What to Buy?
Once you’ve decided to get into precious metals, most people wonder what percentage to buy of gold and silver. The answer to this question will normally depend on how you feel about the volatility of silver, as it can have major swings up and down, which normally puts new people on edge. I recommend most people spend 75% of their investment in gold and the other 25% in silver. If you are willing to stomach the huge swings in silver for the potential of higher gains, then you can possibly spend another 5 to 10 percent more (30-35%) in silver and if you wish to be more safe/secure, you can spend 5 to 15 percent less (10-20%). For how much of your savings you want to put into gold and silver, that will depend, but many stock brokers say 10% of your assets (for those who are into stocks). For me, I feel more secure keeping the same money that would be just lying in the bank for six months or more in precious metals, as paper money is decreasing in value due to inflation and its getting harder to get a decent profit equal to or above the rate of inflation.
I don’t encourage people to buy all at once, but if its your first time buying, maybe consider making your first installment of about 30-40% of the money you wish to spend in total. Then go into buying intervals of possibly once a month, so that if the price goes down you don’t feel as disappointed if you had gone all in and you’ll be able to buy alot more at that installment. Once you’ve completed the 100% of what you wish to invest, consider buying small amounts each month and keep a separate amount for a really good day. That day normally arrives when gold goes down over 10% and/or silver goes down over 30% and many people refer to this as ‘Buying the Dip’. This has happened twice in 2011 and has happened a few times since the gold and silver bull run began in 2001.
What you buy in each installment will depend on how much you can afford. For those who can afford, a 1 ounce gold bar and 1/2 kilo silver bar per interval is a good start. If thats not possible, then maybe get a 8 gram Gold Sovereign and a 100 gram IAR silver bar, and for those who cant afford that, stick with only the 1 to 4 gram Gold Sovereigns. For those who can afford more than the 1 ounce gold bar and half kilo silver, possibly consider going for a 50 gram bar and 1 kilo silver bar, and for those who want even more, a TT gold bar and 2 or 3 silver kilo bars would be a good combination.
Gold and Silver Storage
The buyer’s guide outlines that you can store your precious metals in a bank safe deposit box, with a 3rd party vaulting company, in your house (home safe or hiding place), or on your property. Dubai Islamic Bank or any other local bank offer safety deposit boxes starting from around AED 500 per year. A home safe can cost AED 250 for a 50kg sized safe to AED 2,000 for a 250kg sized safe with digital or key locking mechanisms and can likely be found in the furniture district of the city (in Sharjah, I was able to find them at Oman Al Qatari Furniture [06-5596943] and Hollywood Furniture [06-5217247] along Al Estiqlal Street). Unfortunately there are no private vaulting companies that offer bullion storage in the UAE for individuals, but do so for companies. Brink’s offers storage facilities in the Gold Center Bldg [04-2259228] and at the Almas Tower in Jumeirah Lake Towers [04-4336711]. Emirates Group’s Transguard offers storage facilities in the Gold Land Bldg [04-2183333 / Mr. Amish Sebastion 050-6589002].
Selling Gold and Silver
Well I wouldn’t advise anyone to sell their gold and silver, but there will always be times when people will need the cash, so let me give you tips on how to do so. As stated in the main guide, the best means of getting cash for your precious metals is to sell it directly to individuals who would be ready to pay for it with a premium. So either sell it to someone you know directly or through online or offline classifieds, etc. The other alternative is to sell it to a jewellery/coin dealer shop, but be aware that they will not repay any making charges/premiums that incurred when you purchased it. The dealers will normally purchase gold at 1 to 3 dirhams per gram below its fixed price and will purchase 1kg silver bars for 200 to 300 dirhams below its sale price. I recommend that you sell your gold bullion to Anjali and your silver bullion to Ceetees in Dubai and gold or silver to Abyad in Sharjah. If you wish to sell your gold jewellery or diamonds, I came across Al Khatib Jewellery [04-2266273] (located next to the Gold Centre building, on the way to the Gold Souq) which will buy, exchange or repair. I also stumbled upon Earth Precious Metals’ SellGold.ae [04 2342203].
Alternatives to Physical
Though I don’t believe in the below mentioned forms of storing precious metals, I have included them in order to attempt be as complete as possible. Click here on general information about alternatives to physical precious metals.
Emirates NBD Gold Certificates (previously National Bank of Dubai [NBD] Gold Certificates) are available in multiples of 0.5 kg bullion bars for physical gold held by the bank through its certified security firms (Brinks and Transguard), which can be redeemed either in cash or physical gold at any time before their 5-year maturity. The certificates cost AED 50 and there is a 1% processing fee (AED 900 per 0.5kg – May 2011). At the time of redemption, the bank will charge a branch income charge of 15 fils per gram (AED 75 – May 2011) and a 0.30% (AED 270 – May 2011) charge for processing. A friend of mine recently purchased one of these certificates, which made me do some additional checking on the bank and I’m happy to say that 55% of the bank is owned by the Dubai government, which gives me a bit more faith in them, when it comes to normal fears about precious metal certificates from banks. The friend later on decided to take delivery and collected it from the Gold Standard DMCC Brinks vault on the ground floor of The Gold Centre, which turned out to be a 995 Emirates Gold bar.
Gold Stocks and Securities
Dubai Gold Securities is listed on the NASDAQ Dubai stock exchange since March 2009 and is the only gold security listed in the Middle East. Investors can trade 1/10th ounce gold shares at a premium/discount to the USD spot price through a NASDAQ Dubai approved broker. The security is an initiative of the World Gold Council (WGC) and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre and the traded gold (5,000 ounces) is held in allocated form in vaults of HSBC in London. It is a Shariah-compliant security that gives exposure to the price of gold, less the daily management fee for physical allocation. What I like about it is that its a close-ended fund, where investors are trading physically allocated gold similar to Sprott Physical Gold Trust (PHYS). But I don’t like that the gold is not held in vaults in Dubai, cant be regularly audited locally, cant be redeemed for physical bullion, and that HSBC is the custodian, as they are also the custodian of the fishy Gold ETF ‘GLD’.
The Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) is an initiative by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre which opened in November 2005 and the commodity derivatives exchange allows investors to trade in gold (1 kilo gram) and silver (1,000 ounces) futures contracts.
There are a few means of purchasing digital precious metals in the Emirates, though I haven’t tried it myself and can’t vouch for their service.
• Gold.ae [04-4473635], which is part of Abu Alhaj Holding Group, allows account holders to trade a minimum of 1 ounce of or silver, which can be redeemed for physical in any available weighted coins or bars [verification].
• GBullion.com [04-42932648] allows clients to buy and sell 24k (999.9) gold, from as small as 1 gram, in its storage and insurance free accounts ($4/month account fee), which can be redeemed for physical gold, if equal to or over 1 kilo [verification - application form, passport copy].
• e-Dinar.com [04-4298690] allows individuals to purchase electronic gold dinars (22k 4.25 grams), silver dirhams (24k 3 grams) and platinum, which can be redeemed for physical coins [verification - certified copy of ID].
Media (Newspapers and Videos)
I will continuously be stumbling on local news that I feel those interested in precious metals should be aware of, so find those links below. (check comments for more news)
Dubai, the world’s largest re-exporter of gold – Emirates Business 24|7 [May 4, 2010]
Three top gold refiners in the UAE are more than doubling their processing capacities this year, sending signals that the flow of gold into Dubai, the world’s largest re-exporter of gold, may substantially improve this year.
Tons of gold imports turn to dust on arrival – Emirates 24/7 [Aug 15, 2010]
Several tons of gold imported into the UAE by traders and investors turned out to be fake on closer inspection, resulting in millions of dirhams in losses and high levels of stress to the victims.
Police seal outlets of leading gold merchant – Emirates 24/7 [Feb 14, 2011]
Several outlets of a leading gold and diamond jewellery merchant [Kanwar Jewellers LLC] have been sealed by the Dubai Police as per the Dubai court directive as the jewellery chain owner(s) have allegedly left the country as more than 500 kilos of gold and bullion worth several millions is alleged missing.
Dubai traders report 100% rise in gold bullion sales – Arabian Business [Aug 16, 2011]
Dubai’s gold traders have reported a 100 percent rise in the number of customers buying gold bullion as investors move to seek shelter from US and euro zone debt woes.
Jewellers struggle as gold bar sales surge – The National [Aug 28, 2011]
Abu Dhabi jewellers are struggling to cope with surging demand for gold bars from customers expecting the price of the precious metal to rise even further, despite increasing more than 25 per cent this year.
Physical silver running out, not reflect demand – Arabian Money [Oct 06, 2011]
Several readers of ArabianMoney have written to us over the past two weeks to express their astonishment at the current price of silver because demand where they live is so high that stocks have run out.
Physical gold to trump ETFs by 500% in 2011 – Arabian Money [Nov 13, 2011]
Physical gold will outsell ETFs by 500 per cent this year, Standard Bank’s Walter de Wet told the 8th Dubai City of Gold Conference today. Two years ago the position was completely reversed with physical gold sales running at only 20 per cent of ETFs.
Plot uncovered to smuggle gold into UAE from Africa – Arabian Money [Dec 27, 2011]
Security officials have foiled a money laundering operation that involved the smuggling of 94 kilograms of gold from Africa into the oil-rich state.
** Videos **
Peter Cooper’s Video Series on MyDubaiMyCity.com
Deira Gold Souk – Talks Gold, Talking Silver, Silver as an Investment
Dubai Mall – How To Invest in Gold, The Gold Souq
Sharjah Gold Souk – Gold Buying Trends, Outlook on Silver