Pawnshops, from Don Chu

November 20, 2009 |

 Both Mr Millhone’s and Mr Sears’ remarks about pawnshops are revealing:

“Am sure these people could care less about the DOW today. Likely would sell their gold if they had any.”

“Others like me got some below melt value deals on silver and gold in jewelery and coins. ”

The secondary/buy-back market in gold, silver and jewelry had long been the domain of the neighborhood jeweler and standalone pawnshop. But in the past year, some larger establishments have been muscling into the local scene:

"The number of pawnshops here has grown 20 per cent since 2005 and in June numbered 122 stores, according to the Pawnbrokers’ Association. Some outlets compete for business in the same area — when Moneymax’s Toa Payoh store opens later this year, it will compete with both Maxi-Cash and SingPost in the neighborhood. Both Soo Kee Group and Aspial pointed out that their jewelery and pawnbroking businesses are operated independently, and customers should not fear that pawned items might be ‘recycled’ through their retail jewelery stores.”

Someone at the jewelers has apparently been keeping an eye on the diverging trends of the rising precious metal prices and dwindling cash assets of the working classes. This is one small business that seems mighty attractive right now: for want of a better term, socioeconomic arbitrage.


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