"Business has gone from great to terrible in a matter of months. The sad truth is that most of my clients have already sold all of their gold rings," is anecdotal evidence of a growing trend that Bloomberg reports in Portugal. Historically the home of Europe's biggest relative gold reserves, cash-for-gold shops rose 29% in 2011 (average 2 store openings per day) - but now some are closing. Portugal’s gold exports increased by more than five times to 519.4 million euros last year from 102.1 million euros in 2009, according to data published on the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute’s website.
As a country, Portugal traditionally has guarded that gold. The central bank holds more gold relative to the size of the country’s economy than any euro country, mostly accumulated during former dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar’s 36 years in power, based on data compiled by the World Gold Council. The law prevents proceeds from selling any gold reserves from going toward the government’s budget.
With the Portuguese unemployment rate at a euro-era record of 15 percent in the second quarter, citizens are wondering who will help bail them out now that their job and gold are gone: "We have no more gold to save us from being kicked out this month," encapsulates a growing trend in debt crisis-stricken Europe as household gold supplies dry up after record prices and a deepening recession prompts a proliferation of places to exchange the metal for money.