Gold buying a hassle as online registration overwhelmed by demand

By Minh Son, Quynh Trang   June 19, 2024 | 01:39 am PT
Gold buying a hassle as online registration overwhelmed by demand
Customers queue at a store of Saigon Jewelry Company in Ho Chi Minh City to buy gold on June 18, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Trang
Vietnam’s four state-owned banks no longer see long lines of customers waiting to buy gold, but buyers are struggling to register online as systems reach capacity within minutes of opening.

Since Monday Quang Huy in Hanoi has been sitting at his computer before 9 a.m. every day, seeking to be the first to secure a gold-buying slot online.

But error messages kept popping up every time he tried to register, and by 9:02 a.m. the systems said that they no longer had any available slot.

"I know that there is a high demand for gold, but I never thought that it would be this difficult to register".

On Wednesday VietinBank became the last of the four state-owned lenders to deploy an online registration scheme for gold buyers, seeking to clear the early morning crowd at its branches where many people queued up since dawn to get their hands on a gold-buying token.

But the online systems are also overwhelmed.

Agribank on Wednesday recorded 500,000 people registering to buy gold within the first hour of opening, said the bank’s deputy CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong.

With 8 branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City distributing gold in the afternoon, and each transaction taking around 15 minutes, a branch can serve only dozens of customers a day, she added.

Although the State Bank of Vietnam has affirmed that there is enough gold to meet retail consumers’ demand, banks have been limiting purchase to one tael person. A tael equals 37.5 grams or 1.2 ounces.

For those who want to queue in person, the only option now is to head to a store of the state-owned gold distributor Saigon Jewelry Company (SJC).

But the chance of success is no higher as long queues have been seen at these stores in the last two weeks.

The company has said that it would soon deploy an online registration system.

Gold bar price has been steady at VND76.98 million ($3,024.45) per tael in nearly two weeks, having lost nearly 17% in value since May 10 when it reached a new historic peak.

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