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  • Increased demand: South Koreans even buy gold in supermarkets

    Sun May 12 2024


    Gold is sold in Korean supermarkets and vending machines, and young people are buying in droves. Tiny gold bars weighing between 0.1 and 1.87 grams have been sold since April. The appetite for gold has increased and the price of gold has risen to a record high.

    This is a machine translation of an article from our US colleagues at Business Insider. It was automatically translated and checked by a real editor. Gold bars will be available for sale alongside packaged kimchi and ramen in grocery stores across South Korea, with the yellow metal gaining popularity among younger consumers in 2024. South Korea’s largest convenience store chain CU is reportedly working with Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation to offer small gold bars in retail stores and vending machines across the country. A post on the chain’s Instagram account on April 1st announced the new additions to the range.

    Since then, CU stores have introduced three types of small gold bars weighing between 0.1 gram and 1.87 grams, with prices ranging from 77,000 won (52.30 euros) to 225,000 won (153.66 euros), according to data the posting shows. The tiny bars are decorated with a variety of messages for birthdays and other occasions.

    The Korean news agency Chosun Biz reported that the one-gram bars, priced at 113,000 won (76.76 euros) each, flew off the shelves in just two days. CNBC also reported that the GS25 store chain offers tiny gold chips in vending machines.

    Young Koreans lead the ranks of shoppers purchasing gold at CU stores, accounting for 41.3 percent of total purchases, as from the company’s app. Asian countries have bought large amounts of gold in 2024, with demand from consumers and global central banks helping the metal rise above 2,200 euros an ounce in mid-April.

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    According to a report by the World Gold Council, gold demand in South Korea alone increased by 20.2 percent last year. However, the country’s central bank has not joined the gold rush and has kept its gold reserves constant since 2013 at 104.4 tons.

    Meanwhile, Asia’s largest economy – China – has been rapidly increasing its gold holdings. Generation Z is buying miniature bottles of “golden beans” as they fear a weakening of the Chinese yuan amid economic challenges and a strong U.S. dollar. China’s central bank has also increased its gold reserves as the country continues its de-dollarization efforts.

    Wall Street heavyweights are also bullish on gold. Leading economist David Rosenberg predicted a possible 30 percent increase, regardless of how the economy performs in the near term. Meanwhile, market veteran Ed Yardeni is predicting a whopping 50 percent increase in the commodity by the end of 2025.