The Year of the Tiger is expected to be a very good year for gold jewellery retailers, as the big cat is the second-most popular animal in the Chinese zodiac, industry players said. Second only to the dragon in the 12-animal Chinese zodiac, the tiger is expected to bring in high growth in sales of gold products made for this particular year. A wide range of gold tiger products – minted coins, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, as well as gold bars and other artefacts – have been available in Hong Kong’s jewellery shops since early January, replacing the ox as the Year of the Ox draws to a close. “The tiger is the second-most popular gold product among the 12 zodiac animals, next only to the dragon. As such, the sales of tiger gold coins and other products are expected to be higher than the previous year,” said Haywood Cheung Tak-hay, president of the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society, the local gold exchange traded by most local jewellery makers. Chinese people will buy gold jewellery, coins, bars and other artefacts related to the zodiac animal ahead of or during Lunar New Year, the most important festival for the Chinese community. The Year of the Tiger , which will begin on Tuesday, is the third in the 12-animal Chinese zodiac. The 12 animals, which follow in the order of the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, represent a cycle of 12 years according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Lukfook Group, one of Hong Kong’s largest gold jewellery retailers, which has 2,790 sales points in Hong Kong, mainland China and overseas, has introduced a wide range of gold tiger jewellery and artefacts this year, starting from about HK$1,000 each (US$128). “We have prepared more tiger gold products this year, as we believe the pandemic has become relatively more stable after the government’s introduction of vaccines,” said Nancy Wong, Lukfook’s executive director and deputy CEO. “The sales of gold tiger jewellery are likely to be better than in the past two years, of the ox and the rat.” Buyers liked to purchase gold products associated with the zodiac animal of the year as birthday or wedding gifts, or for themselves, as they believed the zodiac animal will bring luck and fortune, Wong said. So the tiger is a natural choice for the coming 12 months. “Tiger, dragon, horse and ox are among the most popular among the 12 animals, as they represent something good. Dragon refers to good health, tiger means power and strength, ox is linked to market bull runs, while horse represents success. Gold products associated with these animals are the most popular ones,” Wong added. International refiners are also producing gold tiger jewellery for Lunar New Year. “In terms of designing gold artefacts based on zodiac animals, this trend is universal and all reputable mints and refiners produce specialised products for the new lunar year,” said Joshua Rotbart, managing partner of J. Rotbart and Company. Governments around the world have also launched collectable gold coins for the Year of the Tiger. The UK’s Royal Mint on Friday revealed a giant 8 kilogram gold coin with a diameter of 18.5 centimetres, which took 200 hours to make. The price is available upon request. The mint has also produced smaller Year of the Tiger gold coins priced at £670 (US$897) for a quarter ounce (7 gram) coin, £2,505 for a one ounce coin and £11,430 for a five ounce coin. “The coin’s design is a beautiful fusion of British craftsmanship and Chinese tradition featuring the tiger prominently in the centre of the design,” Clare MacLennan, divisional director of commemorative coin at the mint, said in a statement. The People’s Bank of China also produced a set of collectable gold and silver coins for the Year of the Tiger in November. This set included refined 10kg golden coins with a denomination of 100,000 yuan (US$15,724) each. The coins with a diameter of 18 centimetres were limited to just 18. Gold prices in the Year of the Ox dropped by about 1 per cent after a strong 20 per cent increase during the Year of the Rat in 2020 and an 18 per cent rise in the Year of the Pig in 2019. “We are quite bullish about gold in the Year of the Tiger. The continuous Covid-19 crisis and instability in the financial markets have created a positive environment for gold,” J. Rotbart and Company’s Rotbart said. “Although, we do not expect a rally of more than 20 per cent like in 2020, we definitely expect the Year of the Tiger will be a better year for gold prices than the Year of the Ox, which saw the gold price declining,” he added.