Akshay Tritiya marks bullish sales of gold, jewellery

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Jewellers across the country registered high sales this Akshay Tritiya Monday as customers emptied their wallets to buy the yellow metal that fell 1.2 percent in international market, holding near its weakest level in two weeks.

Akshay Tritiya is considered an auspicious day by Hindus and Jains and a lot of gold sales take place this day as it is believed that buying the yellow metal would bring good luck to people and success to their businesses.

Although the exact figures for sales will start trickling after a couple of days, from the day’s sales jewellers could put a ballpark number to the trend throughput the day.

“The response has been excellent. By 3 p.m., Mumbai notched around four tonnes of gold sales,” said Mohit Khamboj, president, Bombay Bullion Association (BBA).

Vipul Shah, chairman, Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), told IANS: “I think gold sales are robust today. This is the price at which people in India are comfortable buying gold. The underlying gold demand now is very high.”

“This year gold prices are about five percent down than that of last year. So, our sales are up about 10 percent to 15 percent in volume terms this Akshaya Tritiya compared to last year,” said Bachhraj Bamalwa, former chairman of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation.

Kolkata-based Shree Ganesh Jewellery House marketing head Rahul Singh said the firm has seen about 45 percent sales growth in volume terms this Akshaya Tritiya in gold as well as diamond jewellary compared to last year.

“Today is the auspicious day for gold buying. We see our sales increased by about 20 percent to 30 percent,” Siddhartha Sawansukha, managing director, Sawansukha Jewellers, said. Sawansukha Jewellers is based out of Kolkata.

Gold price touched Rs.25,766 per 10 gms on April 17, 2013, from a peak of Rs.32,464 per 10 gram struck in November last year. It hovered around Rs.27,500 per 10 grams Monday.

The government and the Reserve Bank of India are coming down heavily on import of gold beacuse of a ballooning current account deficit.

“While last year on this auspicious occasion, the price of gold stood at a staggering Rs.29,100 per 10 gm, which impacted the sales significantly, this year the price of gold stands at Rs.27,200 per 10 gm, bearing a far more positive outcome. Moreover, due to the current prices, the demand for gold has been more investment friendly, thereby giving rise to increased sales of gold bars and coins,” P.E. Mathai, chief executive officer, Muthoot Precious Metals Corporation, said.

But Rahul Gupta, chairman and managing director of PP Jewellers, has very apprehensive views about sales this year. “This year sales were not very good. The price dipped in mid-April. A lot of buying took place during that period. But now price has again spiralled up. People will expect it to fall and hold themselves back from buying now,” he said.

In the financial capital of the country people trooped out in droves to buy gold on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya.

However, Rahul Gupta admitted that compared to last year, the response was not so good and there could be a drop of around 15-20 percent in 2013.

A prominent gold and jewellery retailer and former BBA chief, Mukul Sonawala claimed that the perceived high prices of gold have not really deterred buyers this year.

Down south, the mood is very bullish as Jayantilal Challani, president, the Madras Jewellers and Diamond Merchants Association, said: “Sales are good. It is around 20 percent higher than last year’s figures. People are taking deliveries today. They had booked the jewellery earlier when the gold prices went down. Eighty percent of today’s deliveries are of jewellery booked earlier.”

Challani added that those who had not planned their purchases earlier were buying gold coins.

The average sales of gold in Chennai per day is around 270-300 kg and per month it is around 9,000 kg.

Gold’s safe-haven appeal has been dimmed by speculation that the US Federal Reserve could scale back its aggressive monetary stimulus after recent US labour market data pointed to a steady recovery trend in the world’s largest economy.

India is the world’s largest gold importer. Last month, India’s gold imports saw a 138 percent jump as retail customers bought heavily taking advantage of a correction in global prices.

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