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Thailand's April gold exports increase 830% from 2019 as consumers sell en mass

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(Kitco News) - Gold has been providing a vital lifeline worldwide to people whose lives and income have been devastated by the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nowhere has gold’s value been more prevalent than in Thailand. Last month, Thai media reported long lines at shops as people tried to sell their gold, which hit an all-time high against the Thai baht.

Data are now starting to reveal how much gold was sold in April during the pandemic. In a Tweet Tuesday, analysts at Refinativ Metals noted that trade data show Thailand exported 48 tonnes of gold last month, a 90% increase from March.

“More than 830% higher than the five tonnes recorded in April 2019,” the analysts said.

Meanwhile, the analysts noted that Thailand only imported roughly one ton of gold, the lowest amount since February 2009.

The selling pressure last month was so massive that Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha was forced to step in to calm down the situation.

“I’m asking people to sell gradually, not in large amounts, as shops may face a cash crunch,” he said in a briefing last month.

Traditionally, buying gold is a popular way to save in Thailand. Many sellers cited getting laid off or facing wage cuts due to COVID-19 shutdowns as the reasons for trying to sell now, according to local media reports.

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