The Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip has variously affected the territory's economic, business and financial sectors. Now, it is the gold market's turn. Nazmi Muhanna, general director of the Palestinian Crossing and Borders Authority, announced March 29 that Israeli officials had informed him that they were halting the movement of gold, in all forms, into and out of Gaza.
In February, Israel agreed to allowing 12 gold dealers and manufacturers to import and export gold to and from the Gaza Strip. Muhanna estimated the trade volume at 48 kilograms (106 pounds) per week between mid-February and late March. There are 40 gold factories in Gaza, a fairly large number for an area of only 365 square kilometers (141 square miles). Locally manufactured gold is estimated to account for about 70% of gold purchases, given that its price is fairly stable and it can often be sold without incurring major losses compared to other types of imported gold.