(Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s gold shops are running out of cash because so many people want to sell ornaments, jewelry and bars amid an economic slowdown.

“I’m asking people to sell gradually, not in large amounts, as shops may face a cash crunch,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said in a briefing Wednesday in Bangkok.

The yellow metal remains a popular way for Thais to save money, but a surge in global gold prices to near the highest level in seven years has tempted many to sell. People are trying to raise money after the coronavirus-induced slowdown led to major job losses and wage cuts.

Prayuth said officials are trying to work out a plan for gold shops to cope with long lines of sellers. Thailand is under a partial lockdown through April to curb the disease known as Covid-19, but some businesses deemed essential remain open.

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