Precious Metals

Turkish and Iranian gold markets hit by Trump

Turkey is the world's third largest consumer of gold behind China and India.

Gold image courtesy of; map image courtesy of

Gold markets in Turkey and Iran, two of the biggest consumers of the precious metal in the Middle East, have been affected by what many label as the “Trump factor.”

Metals Focus, an independent precious metals consultancy, reports Iranians flocked to buy U.S. dollars and gold coins anticipating the United States to renege on a nuclear deal signed between Iran and the Obama administration. The Iranian rial depreciated from 38,000 Iranian rial per U.S. dollar in August 2017 to 47,000 Iranian rial by January. By April, the rial slipped further to 60,000 Iranian rial per U.S. dollar.

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The gold market reacted when President Trump on May 8 officially announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, according to Metals Focus.

Metals Focus reports that, while first quarter 2018 retail investment demand tripled year on year from 2017, demand for jewelry, which carries a 9 percent value-added tax on a finished product’s full value, fell by 16 percent.

Second quarter 2018 also posted a triple investment demand increase year on year, while jewelry demand plummeted 35 percent from the same period in 2017, according to Metals Focus.

“Weakness in the jewelry market continues while demand for coins remains strong,” according to Metals Focus.

As for Turkey, Metals Focus indicates that, when the Federal Reserve started increasing interest rates, the move made emerging markets like Turkey less inviting to foreign investors.

“After his June election win, President Erdogan’s unorthodox economic views on interest rates and his growing influence over the Central Bank’s policy decisions unnerved Turkey’s foreign creditors,” according to Metals Focus. “The row with Trump over an evangelical pastor who is under house arrest in Turkey, acted as a trigger in the worst slump in lira against the dollar since the January 2001 crisis.”

Gold prices in Turkish lira, trading at 143 lira per gram in August 2017, climbed to 193 lira by July 2018, a 35 percent jump. Within two weeks, on Aug. 13, the price per gram of gold skyrocketed 46 percent to 273 Turkish lira.

Investors panicked but not enough to significantly sell off metal back into the market, according to Metals Focus.

“The discount in the market compared to London initially ranged from only $2 to $3 per ounce to $5 to $6 per ounce,” Metals Focus reports. “Later on, as markets calmed somewhat, selling back emerged, resulting in the discount widening to a range of $10 to $15 per ounce to $15 to $20 per ounce. However, if and when the prices fall back to the low TL200s or below, we believe that investors will start buying again.”

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