Like the rest of the businesses in the country facing loss after COVID19, gold and silver dealers are also having a hard time running their business.
Sanju Saily, a gold and silver goods retailer near the traffic area said the number of customers has decreased drastically after the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, he has to run his business as he has been doing for the past 20 to 30 years. Currently, the cost of the gold is Nu 52,000 per tola (unit) and Nu 1,500 per tola for silver.
“Last time, the price of gold per tola was Nu 50,000 but it is Nu 52,000 presently and sometimes it reaches to Nu 49,000 per tola,” he said.
The owner of Khushi Jewelry, Hemlath Biswa has been running his gold and silver business in Thimphu for three years. He said the actual rate for one tola of gold is Nu 52,000 and silver is Nu 1,500 but with five percent discount he said it comes to Nu 50,000 a tola for gold and Nu 1,000 for silver.
Hemlath Biswa is also running into losses. “Before the pandemic, I used to earn more than Nu 70,000 to 80,000 per day but now I hardly get Nu 5,000 per day. I might get Nu 20,000 at the maximum,” he said.
He said they were informed by the dealers in Kalimpong that when the dollar rate increases in India, the price also hikes up and vice-versa. However, he said the alteration in the price of silver is less as the demand is very low unlike gold.
Owner of Manilal Jewelry, Ram Kumar Baraily said the prices of the gold have increased and it would not drop as of now because price of gold depends on the country’s economy. He does not agree that variation in dollar exchange rate leads to price hike of gold. “When the country’s economyshrinks, the price of gold will increase and when a country’s economy is well-off, the price will decrease,” he said.
He said that gold, silver and any metals can be recycled and manufactured so the manufacturing is done in Kalimpong but the purchase is done from within Bhutan.
“We exchange gold in Kalimpong; we take gold to them and do an exchange with their products,” he said. He had been running his business for more than 20 years. His customers have decreased by 80% after the pandemic.
He recommends the general public to be alert and refrain buying gold products from those who sell door to door on installment basis, as he said there is no warranty. “But if the dealer is a license holder you can buy from him so if gold is mixed with other metals you can claim back,” he said adding that often people are duped and buy fake gold.
Tenzin Lhamo from Thimphu