“The dragon is the superstar among the 12-animal Chinese zodiac, representing power and strength.”
The dragon is the only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac, and having a child in the Year of the Dragon is considered a blessing. Dragon babies tend to be associated with greater achievements.
Previous years have also seen a baby rush. New births in the last Year of the Dragon in 2012 stood at 91,600, 38 per cent higher than the following Year of the Snake, according to government data. In 2000, 54,134 babies were born, 12 per cent higher than the following year, while in 1988, 75,412 babies were born, 8 per cent higher than the following year.
The dragon is fifth in the 12-animal Chinese zodiac, which follows in the order of rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, representing a cycle of 12 years according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
Cheung said many jewellers have prepared an additional 30 per cent of dragon-themed gold products compared with the previous year, as they expect a substantial increase in sales.
Chinese people buy gold jewellery, coins, bars and other artefacts related to the zodiac animal ahead of and during the Lunar New Year holiday, their most important festival. They will also buy dragon-themed gold jewellery over the next 12 months for newborn babies, and to be given as wedding gifts or as birthday presents.
Lukfook Group, one of Hong Kong’s largest gold jewellery retailers, has introduced a wide range of gold dragon jewellery and artefacts, including dragon coins, bracelets as well as bangles inscribed with dragon and phoenix motifs.
“We have already prepared a lot of dragon-themed gold jewellery for marriages and newborns, because many parents like to have a dragon baby,” said Nancy Wong, Lukfook’s executive director and deputy CEO.
“In addition, Valentine’s Day this year is on the fifth day of the Year of the Dragon, so we have also prepared gold jewellery for it.”
Since the reopening of Hong Kong’s borders with mainland China and the rest of the world in January 2023, tourists have returned to Hong Kong, Wong said. Lukfook’s sales in the October-to-December quarter last year rose 75 per cent year on year and 40 per cent over the same quarter in 2019, before the pandemic, she added.
J. Rotbart and Company, a boutique gold trading firm with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines, also offers a dragon gold bar.
“Every year, we do our best to provide our clientele with options to expand their portfolios with limited-edition products,” said Joshua Rotbart, J. Rotbart’s managing partner. “Based in Hong Kong, it is only right to promote the Year of the Dragon, which is the most revered zodiac animal among the community.
“We have accumulated large volumes of orders not only from Hong Kong clients, but also from Chinese Singaporeans and Filipinos.”
Signs are also positive for the price of gold, with the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society’s Cheung expecting it to rise by about 30 per cent to HK$25,000 (US$3,196) per tael (about 37.8 grams). International gold prices could also increase from the current US$2,035 per ounce to close to a record high of US$2,500 per ounce.
“Geopolitical tensions, demands from central banks and interest rate cuts will all support the gold price going forward,” Cheung said.
Gold prices in the Year of the Rabbit, which came to a close on February 9, rose 6 per cent to HK$18,940 per tael, following a 7 per cent increase in the Year of the Tiger, according to Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society data.
The Year of the Ox saw a decline of about 1 per cent but the previous two years saw strong surges, with the Year of the Rat reporting a 20 per cent increase in local gold prices and the Year of the Pig posting an 18 per cent increase. Local gold prices almost doubled from a bottom reached during the Year of the Goat in 2016.