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Indonesians turn to gold bullion to protect wealth

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An employee shows two bars of gold produced by Indonesian state-owned diversified mining company Antam. GARRY ANDREW LOTULUNG/KOMPAS.COM

Indonesians turn to gold bullion to protect wealth

Gold sales in Indonesia have increased sharply this year as many people still believe that bullion remains a safe haven in times of financial or political uncertainty.

Local gold trader Sembada Gold director of operations Hendry Wijaya said his company recorded a 15 per cent year-on-year growth in gold sales last month, citing the global uncertainties, caused by trade tension between the US and China.

“People are buying more gold because they know it is a safe haven to face inflation and global uncertainties,” said Hendry in Jakarta last week.

Sembada Gold currently has three retail stores in East Java with most of the buyers being retail investors seeking a relatively safe investment as well as those who bought jewellery for lifestyle and investment.

A World Gold Council (WGC) report said the world’s demand for gold reached 1,107 tonnes in the third quarter of this year, up three per cent from 1,079 tonnes in the same period last year.

Investment in gold-backed exchange-traded funds offset a decline in purchases of jewellery, bars and coins to push global gold demand slightly higher in the third quarter, the report said, as reported by Reuters.

Gold is traditionally seen as a safe investment in uncertain times, and the worsening health of the global economy triggered a growing demand from financial investors such as asset managers and hedge funds.

The price of Antam’s gold was unchanged at 747,000 rupiah ($53) per gramme on Monday after a decline of 1,000 rupiah per gramme on Saturday.

Diversified mining company PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) vice-president for precious metals and marketing Iwan Dahlan told reporters during a discussion last week that the public’s awareness of gold investment had boosted the company’s gold sales.

“We are seeing a rise in public awareness of gold as a safe haven, as we recorded significant sales growth this year,” he said, adding that the company had sold 31 tonnes of gold year-to-date, up 19 per cent from 26 tonnes of gold sold last year.

“Exports account for 60 per cent of the total gold sold this year as it gave us more profits due to better price abroad [compared to in Indonesia],” said Iwan, adding that the domestic buyers were mostly retail investors while gold exporters were mainly businesses.

He expected that the company would sell around 35 tonnes of gold next year, citing the increase in public awareness, which could potentially boost sales.

In a bid to widen its customer base, Antam partnered with several gold resellers such as online marketplace Tokopedia and online gold-selling platform Lakuemas.

Lakuemas business development director Junior Sambyanto said the platform aimed to boost the younger generation’s investment in gold as 80 per cent of its 20,000 customers were aged around 25 to 34.

“We provide our customers with an online application in which they could start investing in gold starting from 50,000 rupiah and we also provide gold ATMs to attract public interest,” said Junior.

He added that the platform currently had five gold ATMs in five different malls in Jakarta with the platform aimed to enhance its presence in Surabaya next year.

THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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