Gold shops in Bangkok’s Chinatown saw long lines of people waiting to exchange their gold for cash as prices reached a seven-year high amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Owners of the shops claim they are facing a liquidity crunch, as they are unable to quickly resell the gold abroad due to flight restrictions and a shortage of buyers in other countries, hindered by lockdowns and market closures.
On Wednesday, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha urged the public to sell gradually, heeding calls from the industry.
The price of gold has been rising since the coronavirus crisis began, which is the usual pattern in times of uncertainty as people seek what they believe is a hedge against uncertain financial markets.
In many East Asian cultures, people hold gold as savings and investments.