Jan. 22 - Gold price hike devastates gold market in protest-hit Syria. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Gold prices may be near record highs, which is good news for those who already have it. But it is a commercial disaster for the Damascus Central Gold market. On Saturday the market was virtually empty. Many jewelers have closed shop, in a city famous for its gold designs. But dealers say people no longer buy gold for pleasure. Many people just can't afford it. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) NIZAR LATTACH, A JEWELER, SAYING: "At this time, the movement is a little bit slow because of the problems happening and the situation in the country. But in general the sales here are light and whoever buys, chooses a piece with a low workmanship in order to save it." Sanctions imposed by Western countries, and disruption caused by the uprising, are battering the Syrian economy. On the wider market, luxury items and some food products, are scarce. The worsening economic situation has prompted officials, who for months had parroted the economy's resilience in the face of sanctions, to admit the country is suffering losses. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters