Domestic gold prices set a fresh record high on Saturday on the back of recent surges in international prices of the precious metal and the weak U.S. dollar, industry sources said.
The retail price of 1 don (3.75 grams) of pure gold in the country stood at 217,800 won (US$206) on Saturday, up 600 won from Friday's quotation, according to the Korea Gold Exchange, a local gold dealer. Don is a unit used in Korea to measure gold.
The figure could translate into a one-don pure gold ring, a common present for a baby on its first birthday, fetching around 250,000 won when taxes and other costs are added, the sources said.
The gold price in South Korea surpassed the 200,000-won mark in June last year. In August 2008, the retail price of gold was some 110,000 won per don.
The runaway gold prices are becoming a global trend as investors move to hold onto safer assets in the face of high uncertainty caused by the escalating sovereign debt crisis in Europe. In addition, the recent fall in value of the U.S. dollar is affecting the price of gold, they said.
"Due to growing uncertainties, investors are flocking to safe assets such as gold," said Choe Eun-kyu, an official at the Korea Gold Exchange.
Gold for August delivery in New York topped $1,590 an ounce on Friday, rising to a record for the third day, on speculation that debt woes in Europe will escalate. (Yonhap News)