Gold vending machines multiply

Dubai: Declining dollar values and rising inflation may be leading to heightened interest in new gold vending machines set up across the UAE for tourists and investors.

Thomas, an Australian tourist, was contemplating the purchase of a gold coin at the new ‘Gold to go’ vending machine at the ground floor of the Burj Khalifa.

Gold prices have reached historic highs of more than $1,600 (Dh5,876) per ounce due to global uncertainty.

“A lot of my friends are buying gold right now because of uncertainty so it’s got me thinking,” he said. “I’ve never seen a gold vending machine before but I think I will wait until I get home. I’m not sure how customs will see my gold purchase when I return.”

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The price of a one ounce gold bar at the “Gold to go” vending machine on Tuesday was Dh6,315 as compared to Dh5,620 price for an ounce of gold in January.

A smaller Maple Leaf gold coin weighing one-tenth of an ounce produced by the Canadian mint was selling for Dh785. Vending machine owners Ex Oriente Lux AG instruct users that they only accept cash and each purchase is refundable within ten days of purchase.

In a statement printed on the machine, the company states that it “will refund the purchase prices plus/minus the amount equivalent to the percentage change in the sold price [London PM Fixing] comparing the gold price on the purchase day with the gold price the product is returned.” The company also says it refunds mailing expenses.

In a statement in January, Thomas Geissler, CEO of Ex Oriente Lux and inventor of the world’s first gold vending machine, said: “What could be more exclusive than a gift of pure gold? And unlike most souvenirs, your Burj Khalifa gold bar will never lose its value and give pleasure for the next few hundred years.”

The company website lists six new gold vending machines in the UAE with two at Burj Khalifa, Atlantis The Palm Hotel, Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Galleries Lafayette at Dubai Mall and Ski Dubai at the’ Mall of the Emirates.