Gold retail purchases in the UAE dropped by nearly 15 percent during August as it coincides with Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Although there are no official monthly reports on gold sales in the country, combined reports from gold mechants induicate a drop by around 15 per cent in August on the year as the holy month of Ramadan led consumers to focus more on food purchases.

The holy month of Ramadan, where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset started on 11 August and is expected to end on 10 September depending on the lunar calendar.

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Retail sales represent the bulk of gold demand in the Gulf region because the investment market is in its infancy.

Traders are expecting sales to accelerate during the first two weeks following Ramadan and the pick up in demand will more than make up for the losses encountered over the past weeks, analysts said.

Overall, retail gold demand volume in the Middle East during the second quarter of the year was mixed, with Saudi recording a 5 percent rise on the year, while the UAE fell by 15 percent, according to a report by the World Gold Council.

Gold demand in Saudi was driven by strong domestic consumption, and UAE demand had tailed off in response to high prices during the second quarter, the WGC report added.

Other Gulf countries saw demand drop by 25 percent in the second-quarter this year compared to the same time a year earlier, the report said.