Paulo Oliveira and his wife sold their wedding rings to pay the rent after he lost his job as a builder last month. They were the couple’s last pieces of jewelry.
“We have no more gold to save us from being kicked out this month,” the 46-year-old said as he stood in the area of downtown Lisbon popular with cash-for-gold stores. “Everyone I know is struggling, even the gold stores are empty because nobody has any more gold left to sell.”
“Business has gone from great to terrible in a matter of months,” Luis Almeida, whose family has owned a gold store near Lisbon’s Rossio Square for more than 40 years, said in an interview. “The sad truth is that most of my clients have already sold all of their gold rings.”
Portugal’s gold exports increased by more than five times to 519.4 million euros last year from 102.1 million euros in 2009, according to data published on the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute’s website.
From The Globe and Mail:
Times are now so tough that Valerio Novelli, a ticket inspector on Rome’s buses, is planning to sell his old gold teeth.
“I can’t get to the end of the month without running up debts,” said Mr. Novelli, 56.
In a country suffering from economic crisis, buying gold off desperate people has become one of the few boom industries.
People are barely surviving based on the gold passed down from generation to generation.
The pawnbrokers, by contrast, can hardly keep up with business. They normally have the gold quickly melted down and sent abroad, making it one of Italy’s fastest growing exports. Official gold sales to Switzerland leaped 65 per cent last year to 120 tonnes, up from 73 tonnes in 2010 and 64 tonnes in 2009.
Read The Globe and Mail article here.
That’s not just gold being exported, that is wealth being exported!