May 12 - Dubai is building a multi-million gold refinery which is set to become the world's biggest. Hayley Platt looks at how the gold industry is shifting to Asia's fast-growing economies.
Business is brisk in Dubai's jewellery stores. Demand for precious metals, especially gold is moving east to Asia's fast-growing economies. And Dubai is gearing up to take full advantage. It's building what will become the world's biggest gold refinery. Munir Al-Kaloti is founder of Kaloti precious metals, the group behind the development. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF KALOTI PRECIOUS METALS, MUNIR AL-KALOTI, SAYING: "Right now, Dubai represents 11 percent of the world's gold business. The expectation for 2020 is that this percentage will grow to become the highest in the world at around 39 percent." The project is costing around $60 million. And will offer refining and clearing facilities - currently a business dominated by Europe and the U.S. Kaloti's new refinery will have an annual capacity of 1,400 tonnes of gold and 600 tonnes of silver - three times the size of any other refineries in the region. Dubai's Gold and Commodities Exchange, which trades gold futures, also plans to introduce a spot gold contract as early as June. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF KALOTI PRECIOUS METALS, MUNIR AL-KALOTI, SAYING: "Dubai's future as a world hub for gold business is very promising. As an investment, demand for gold will go on forever. There is nothing that can replace it." Of course there are no guarantees that demand for gold in Asia will continue to grow. Last year demand for precious metals overall fell by 15 percent. But it's a gamble Kaloti says he's willing to take.