A report issued by the World Gold Council showed that Umrah pilgrims and tourists pushed up Saudi Arabia's gold demand by 30 percent to 42.5 million during the second quarter of 2007 compared to a year earlier, Arab News reported.
According to the report, gold demand in the Middle East region in general has increased by 20 percent to 97.5 tons in the April-July quarter from 81.25 tons a year earlier, thanks to strong economies and stable prices in the region.
The report also forecast that the impact of the wedding season will continue the bullish trend in the third quarter, noting that the stock market trends are no longer diverting the attention of traders and consumers as it did prior to last year's crash.
Gold demand in UAE was 15 percent higher compared to last year, with jewelry demand rising 18 percent. Total gold demand in UAE in second quarter reached 29.8 tons, the report said.
Demand in Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar totaled 12 tons, an increase of 15 percent year-on-year. In Egypt, consumer demand was 9 percent higher as compared to year earlier while jewelry demand increased 8 percent. The country's demand reached 13.3 tons.
The WGC report said global demand for gold jewelry jumped 37 percent in the second quarter to reach a record $14.5 billion.
In India, the world's largest gold market, gold demand reached 317.2 tons, equivalent to half of the global mine output for the second quarter of 2007 because of more stable gold prices, a booming economy and the increasingly successful festivals in April.