Gold dispensing ATM now in Beijing

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Female attendants man the first gold ATM opened in a luxury mall in Beijing, China.

Chinas wealthy can now buy up to 2.5 kilograms of gold via ATMs in the citys upscale clubs and private banks, state mediareported.

The machines made their debut in a Beijing shopping district on Sunday, according to AFP. Limit for maximum withdrawal is set at 1 million yuan, or about $157,000 worth of gold. Both cash or credit cards are accepted.

The machines, manufactured byTG-Gold-Super-Markt.Dein Germany, first debutedin Europe in 2009 and arrivedin the US in late 2010.

China is the worlds second-fastest growing market for gold, with a population that is steadily becoming better off, but which has few reliable options for investment. Stock markets are volatile, the property market is inflated and limited by government restrictions, and inflation of just over 6 per cent has not abated.

MIDDLE EAST GOLD

Al Hilal Bank, a progressive Islamic bank, made banking history by launching the Middle Easts first-ever bank-installed gold dispensing machine. Located at Al Hilal Banks Mall Branch in Abu Dhabi, the countrys largest banking branch, the GOLD to Go machine sells gold bars and coins 24 hours a day at prices that are updated every 10 minutes to match current market rates.

GOLD to Go went live on September 1, 2011 after rigorous testing. The pioneering equipment is burglar and tamper-proof and is very easy to use. It is fully operated by Ex Oriente Lux, the German developer of GOLD to Go, the worlds first gold vending machine. The new service is expected to do very well in light of golds well-established roles as both an alternative currency and a common hedge against inflation.

Our GOLD to Go rollout is in line with our continuous efforts to lead the market by introducing first-of-its-kind services to the UAE. We want to be the best for our customers and so we seek out the best offerings for them. Buying high-quality gold 24/7 in our trusted banking environment is something new and exciting for our customers and I am sure they will highly appreciate our efforts to give them access to this kind of personal service, said Mohamed Jamil Berro, Chief Executive Officer, Al Hilal Bank.

Al Hilal Bank is fully owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, the investment body of the Abu Dhabi Government.

Dubai showcased its first gold to go ATM in Dubai Malls Galeries Lafayette, in February this year.

With a personalized Galeries Lafayette piece of gold, customers can purchase 24 carat gold bars or coins at current market prices and get their hands on as much of the shiny metal as they desire within a matter of seconds.

On May 2010, Abu Dhabi showcased its first ATM to go gold in the capitals $3 billion government-owned hotel, Emirates Palace.

GOLD UNPREDICTABLE

Since the credit crisis, the value of gold has skyrocketed as a safe haven investment choice, selling for just over $500 an ounce in 2007 to recently cresting near a record high of $1,900 per ounce in August.

However, the timing of the new ATMs for Chinas nouveau riche is perfect. Gold prices haveplummeted in recent days, dropping $100 on Friday alone the steepest drop since 1980.

Fears of the slowing of the global economy raises the spectre of deflation. “People are quickly coming to the realisation that gold does very bad in a deflationary environment,” Keith Springer, president of Springer Financial Advisors, told CNNMoney.

On Monday, gold was trading at $1,659 per ounce.

Sources: CNN, The Globe and Mail, Albawaba, Al Arabiya

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