Gold consumption in the Middle East rose by ten per cent last year, according to new figures.
Statistics released by the World Gold Council (WGC) have shown that consumption of the yellow metal reached 348.4 tons in 2007 compared with 315.6 tons in 2006 - a trend that may have contributed to the record gold price highs that have been reached in recent times.
Saudi Arabia saw the largest increase in retail gold sales at 33 per cent, followed by Egypt with 29 per cent and the United Arab Emirates with 24 per cent.
Moaz Barakat, WGC managing director in the Middle East, Turkey and Pakistan, commented: "Gold's safe haven and hedging characteristics have been a major attraction to investors during this period of instability, greater inflationary fears and falling dollar."
The WGC recently revealed that record levels of gold investment inflows were recorded during the fourth quarter of 2007, reaching a high of $8 billion in total.
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