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City of Gold in Dubai

His Excellency Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, today opened the 6th Dubai City of Gold Conference, organised by the Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group (DGJG), at the Park Hyatt Dubai and provided an optimistic long term view for industry growth in the region.

Over 500 delegates from the world’s leading retail, trading and manufacturing centres of gold and jewellery, as well as global financial houses, are attending the two-day conference, which will discuss industry trends and developments against the backdrop of volatile gold prices and the ongoing stock market uncertainty.

Reflecting the challenges and opportunities presented by the industry in all segments from mining to supply, the conference is focusing on the theme of ‘Value Chain & Integration’.

Tawfique Abdullah, Chairman of the Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group welcomed the delegates and said the conference will bring clear guidelines for the industry in facing the challenges of a fluctuating worldwide economy and rising gold prices.

“Gold has reinstated its age old position as the best hedge against inflationary times. As the gold price stabilises consumers will adapt and we are already seeing innovations in marketing, products and design that are maintaining demand.”

In his keynote address, His Excellency Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, said that ongoing developments in the gold and jewellery sector will greatly influence regional and global economies as gold has traditionally been a prime hedging tool and important indicator of financial stability. He commented, with gold trade being the chief driver of economic diversification in the region and Dubai continuing to be the major supplier for the vigorous Arab and Indian markets, this influence will be more pronounced on GCC economies.

“In 2007, the contribution of the non-oil sector to Dubai’s GDP was 65%, with 10% derived from gold and jewellery revenues. Dubai imported 559 tonnes of gold, up 14% from 489 tonnes in 2006; it also re-exported 287 tonnes surpassing the 2006 figure of 274 tonnes,” Mansouri said. He added that with re-export forming the backbone of non-oil revenues in GCC these figures indicate the pre-eminence of gold trade over other retail sectors.

The minister also highlighted Dubai’s initiatives like hallmarking of gold by the Dubai Central Laboratories, the Dubai Gold & Diamond Park, manufacturing and refining facilities at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre and the ‘Pearls of Arabia’ project. He said will add on to the success of Dubai Shopping Festival and the Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group in positioning the city as the ‘Jewellery Destination of the World.”

Ian MacDonald, Executive Director for Gold & Precious Metals at DMCC, also painted a bright picture of the future and explained about the ongoing efforts towards the integration of the physical and commodities trading in the Dubai gold market.

“Dubai’s gold trade registered a 16% growth in 2007 and reached $19 billion. The volume of gold refined in Dubai rose up by 35% year on year in 2007. To maintain the momentum of this growth we need to increase confidence in Dubai’s gold trade and link it effectively to the global investment markets,” MacDonald said.

Highlighting the importance of building the human part of the jewellery industry in Dubai, Dr Najir al Mehdi, Executive Director of UAE’s National Institute for Vocational Education said that the importance of gold trade in the national economy makes it a focus of efforts to develop a highly skilled, flexible, employable and entrepreneurial workforce in the region.

“Currently the number of UAE nationals employed in the gold & jewellery sector is very low. As a government-led initiative we are currently working with the trade to remove barriers to the entry of nationals into this sector through education as well as financing,” Al Mehdi said.

Moaz Barakat, Managing Director of the World Gold Council (Middle East, Turkey & Pakistan) said the trade will show sustainable growth in the long term despite concerns over the drop of gold sales on the back of record prices: “Gold has an enduring appeal. Through product development and innovation the trade can overcome the challenges of volatile prices.”

The conference will continue today with a line-up of industry leaders and financial experts set to present their views of ‘Jewellery Retail Revolution’ and ‘Diamonds & Gemstones – A Global Perspective’ before panel discussions on “Jewellery Retailing & Financing – Opportunities and Challenges”

The 6th City of Gold Conference is being held in association with the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, with Transguard and ABN Amro as key sponsors and Standard Bank, HSBC and National Bank of Dubai as support sponsors.

Formed with the support of the Dubai Department of Economic Development in 1996, the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group (DGJG) is a trade association with over 700 members representing all sectors of the trade, including bullion trade, manufacturing, wholesale and retail. The Group has since then evolved into a prestigious trade body committed to developing and sustaining Dubai’s status as the ‘City of Gold’. It also leads the campaign to position Dubai as ‘The Jewellery Destination of the World’.

DGJG represents the interests of the trade through liaising with government organizations. Its Board of Directors include representations from Dubai Customs and DSF committee. The Group also works closely with international organizations like the World Gold Council, the World Diamond Council, the International Gemological Institute (IGI), High Diamond Council (HRD) and CIBJO (The World Jewellery Confederation).


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