News / Economy

Rising Gold Prices Spark Demand

Gold bars are shown at the Korea Gold Exchange in Seoul, South Korea. Gold's allure stems in part from fears that the world's major economies are dangerously indebted,  August 9, 2011
Gold bars are shown at the Korea Gold Exchange in Seoul, South Korea. Gold's allure stems in part from fears that the world's major economies are dangerously indebted, August 9, 2011

Multimedia

Every new piece of bad economic news and every plunge on Wall Street sparks fears that the worst is yet to come.  As a result, many people are turning to one investment they feel they can trust.

Gold chains, gold bangles and gold coins - all increasingly expensive.

Still, customers stream into a Vienna, Virginia, jewelry store, outside of Washington.

“I wanted to get a little pendant and a little chain,” customer Dia Majumdar explains.

At a time when many Americans are selling their gold for cash, Indian-born Majumdar is among the many Asian-Americans looking to buy - for herself and for something to pass on to her daughter and grandchildren. “And those of us who have bought the gold jewelry know that they have an asset to fall back on," she added. "I still have a lot of my gold wedding jewelry left and I know in the back of my mind that it’s there.”

May Jewelers caters especially to the Asian community.  Vice president Vincent Nguyen says Mujamdar is not alone. “We have people who save up for months and just come in here and buy a one-ounce coin for investment,” he stated.

It is a big investment.  A gold chain that cost $300 a few years ago now sells for $900 or more.

“A lot of our clientele believes in gold," Nguyen notes. "If there is a special occasion - it could be an anniversary, a wedding occasion - people buy gold.”

For lots of Asian-Americans, gold is a safe investment, a hedge against uncertain economic times.  For others, the value is much greater.

“It’s psychological, isn’t it?" says Larry Shinagawa, director of the Asian-American studies program at the University of Maryland. "More than anything else, you have the sense of having something of lasting value in a world that is so transient and so much in turmoil.”

But Shinagawa says that cultural comfort is only part of the reason many Asian-Americans are snapping up gold and other precious metals.

“There has been about a 60 to 68 percent drop in the amount of wealth among Asian-Americans in a very short time period of only four years.  Much of it is real estate,” he says.

It is not just Asian-Americans looking to gold to preserve their wealth.  

Demand for gold has been rising worldwide, India and China leading the way.

And for many people, says Professor Anil Gupta with the University of Maryland Smith School of Business, gold remains less risky than many alternatives.

“If I look ahead at least over the next two, three, four, five years, the likelihood of volatility in world economies, in the stock market, it’s likely to remain high," Gupta says. "And in times of volatility gold is likely to be seen as a relatively safe haven.”

For now, that means brisk business for jewelry shops, like this one, where some customers are even passing on luxury items - like flat screen TVs - to get a little more gold.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.