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'Silver is the new gold' as Egyptians try to protect savings
By Sarah El Safty and Farah Saafan
Thursday, February 8, 2024
CAIRO -- Egyptian women traditionally receive a gold jewellery set, or "shabka", on their engagement. But as surging prices and a weakening currency have driven up demand for the precious metal, some are getting silver instead.
The trend is a measure of an economic crisis in which inflation has been running at more than 30% and the central bank has allowed the currency to weaken 50% against the dollar, with more devaluation expected.
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"Silver is the new gold," said a salesman at a Cairo silver store who only gave his first name, Abanob.
In the year to Jan. 30, the price of a gram of 21-carat gold rose more than 120% to 3,875 Egyptian pounds ($126), data from the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce showed.
Demand for gold coins and bars surged nearly 58% from 2022 to 2023, according to the World Gold Council's annual report.
Eman Mahmoud, a 51-year-old mother of three, said she had to opt for silver when buying jewellery for a friend's new baby.
"A small 18-carat earring weighing less than a gram is more than 3,000 pounds. I can't afford that as a gift anymore so I bought a silver necklace for around 1,900," she said. ...
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