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Gold jewellery sales in Hong Kong poised to leap 30 per cent in Year of the Rabbit as weddings, mainland tourists return

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Gold jewellery sales in Hong Kong poised to leap 30 per cent in Year of the Rabbit as weddings, mainland tourists return

“Many wedding parties were postponed for the past three years as they wanted to wait until the pandemic is over. Now is the time to clear the backlog of delayed wedding banquets.”

Year of the Rabbit 2023: Chinese zodiac style guide (Part 1)

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Year of the Rabbit 2023: Chinese zodiac style guide (Part 1)

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It is a Chinese tradition that newlyweds and their relatives buy gold jewellery such as bangles inscribed with dragon and phoenix motifs, as dowry for the bride or as wedding gifts.

Hong Kong’s government removed all restrictions on restaurants and banquets in December, a core part of the tough social distancing measures that at one stage limited weddings to just 20 guests.

There were 26,899 marriages in Hong Kong in 2021, according to government data, the lowest in the past 30 years and a sharp fall of 39 per cent from 44,200 weddings in 2019 before the pandemic. The government has yet to release data for 2022.

Newlyweds are preparing to up their spending on their banquets and jewellery, according to a survey conducted by EDSLife at the end of last year that polled 1,226 couples who are getting married between 2022 and 2024.

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They are planning to spend 3 per cent more on banquets and 17 per cent more on rings and jewellery at an average cost of HK$108,988, compared with HK$93,000 in 2021, HK$77,300 in 2020 and HK$72,300 in 2019, according to the survey.

“The Year of the Rabbit is a leap year according to the Chinese calendar, which is good for weddings. This will drive demand for gold jewellery for wedding purposes up substantially,” said Nancy Wong Lan-sze, executive director and deputy chief executive officer of Lukfook Group.

Lukfook Group, one of Hong Kong’s largest gold jewellery retailers with 3,090 sales points at home, in mainland China and overseas, has introduced a wide range of gold rabbit jewellery and artefacts this year, replacing the tiger as the Chinese zodiac animals change guard.

The Year of the Rabbit, which began on Sunday, is the fourth in the 12-animal Chinese zodiac. They follow in the order of rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, representing a cycle of 12 years according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

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Chinese people tend to buy gold jewellery, coins, bars and other artefacts related to the zodiac animals as birthday or wedding gifts, or for themselves, as they believe the animal will bring them good luck.

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Even as the price of the precious metal increases, the reopening of the Chinese border on January 8 will bring mainland tourists back to the city, which will be another key driver of growth in the gold jewellery retail sector, Wong said.

“The rise of gold prices recently may affect the buying power of the customers. However, the reopening of the border of China is expected to bring retail sales back to the pre-Covid level,” Wong said.

“With the expectation of the return of mainland tourists, we have prepared a lot more rabbit and a wide range of Lunar New Year gold products to meet the demand of the customers who want to buy gold products during the festival.”

The price of bullion in Hong Kong during the Year of the Tiger climbed 7 per cent to close at HK$17,890 per tael (37.8 gram) on Friday, the last trading day before the holiday.

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“Gold could shine this year if the foreign exchange market follows the 2023 script for a weak US dollar,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI asset management, a foreign exchange and commodity advisory firm.

“Physical demand for gold has been brisk in Asia, and China’s reopening could encourage more physical demand around Lunar New Year as a weaker US dollar makes gold more attractive in yuan terms.”

The news is published by EMEA Tribune & SCMP210520-twitter-verified-cs-70cdee.jpg (1500×750)

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