( Gulf ) - The total gold trade through Dubai reached $19.03 billion in 2007, an increase of 29 per cent from 2006, according to a statement by Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).
In 2006, Dubai's gold trade was estimated at $14.75 billion, up from $10.73 billion in 2005.
A total of 559 tonnes of gold was imported into Dubai in 2007, up by 14 per cent from 489 tonnes in 2006. Exports from Dubai increased marginally to 287 tonnes compared to 274 tonnes in 2006.
Gold prices averaged $696 per ounce in 2007, up from $604 per ounce in 2006.
In the fourth quarter of 2007, gold trade grew by 34 per cent to nearly $5 billion from $3.74 billion in the same period in 2006. In the fourth quarter of 2007, Dubai imported 107 tonnes and exported 77 tonnes of gold.
Dubai's top trading partners for gold are India, Switzerland, Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, Italy, the UK, Turkey, US and Saudi Arabia, while the geographical reach of the business extended to 101 countries.
"Historically, gold has always been seen as a source of lasting value, and this is particularly true of the countries in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent," said Ahmad Bin Sulayem, executive chairman, DMCC. " Dubai remains an important global centre for the gold trade with the emirate registering year on year growth during the last five years.
"This is clear evidence of the confidence that the commodities trade has in the strong economic policies of the Government of Dubai."
"Investor demand from across the world and global concerns about currency and inflation underline the nature of gold as a safe investment," said Ian MacDonald, executive director for gold and precious metals, DMCC.