Jewelers Capitalize on Falling Gold Prices

The plummet in gold prices over the past year has benefited both U.S. jewelers and consumers. While competitive pressures have spurred many jewelers to pass on the savings to customers, others have used the price drop to strengthen their own margins. Whatever its effects, however, the low gold price may be temporary. After dipping below $280 early this year, gold began inching up again and could go as high as $390 an ounce before year end, say some analysts. Dropping. Gold, which hovered between $350 and $450 per ounce for most of the past decade, began a slow decline last summer. After hitting a low of $278 in January, however, it began a modest rebound. Experts cite a variety of reasons for the drop, including low inflation worldwide and extensive selling of gold reserves (at least 15 million ounces in 1997) held by central banks of many major countries, including Australia, Cana

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