Turkey imported 270.7 tonnes of gold till Nov

December 06, 2013 - 6:22:29 am

LONDON/ANKARA: Turkey’s gold imports have surged to their highest on record so far this year after a hefty drop in bullion prices, with further progress signposted if restrictions on trade with Iran are formally eased.

Turkey imported 270.7 tonnes of gold in the first 11 months of the year, data from Borsa Istanbul showed, more than double 2012’s full-year imports of 120.8 tonnes.

The rise stemmed chiefly from this year’s sharp drop in gold prices, which have fallen 26 percent since December 2012 after 12 straight years of gains. 

“Turkey, like most of the price-sensitive markets, saw this year’s lower price level as an opportunity to replenish stocks and release some of the pent-up demand that has been building as consumers have been priced out of the market,” Cameron Alexander, an analyst with Thomson Reuters GFMS, said. 

“Official coin demand has more than doubled, investment demand has also more than doubled, and jewellery demand has rebounded by around a fifth this year.”

As well as the price outlook, further growth in imports next year will depend in part on how far Iranian demand for gold from Turkey picks up, Alexander said, after the trade tailed off this year due to US sanctions.

Iran could obtain access to $1.5bn in revenue from trade in gold and precious metals under the terms of an interim deal agreed last month in Geneva between Iran and six world powers. 

Turkey’s gold trade with Iran boomed in 2012 when Ankara was paying for its natural gas and oil imports with Turkish lira, and Iranians were using those deposits held in Turkey’s Halkbank to buy gold. 

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