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Gold Buying "Spree" in India

The world's hungriest gold market continues to demand physical metal...

ENCOURAGED by brisk sales through its post offices, India's postal service is extending its Gold Coin offer to new outlets, reports Commodity Online from New Delhi.

Indian gold buyers – the world's largest single market – have been visiting post offices across the country to Buy Gold in various weights of coins since the project began in 2008.

Buoyed by the huge success of Gold Coin sales through its post offices, India Post is adding 15 more offices to step up its trade in the yellow metal this month.

This Monday, says India Post, it started the service in Jharkhand, covering several post offices. Dozens of people came to the postal outlets to buy gold coins.

"It is a new experience," says Sindhu Dinesh, a house-wife who bought a half-gram gold coin of 24-carat from the Bistupur General Post Office.

"So far, we have been going to the post offices to collect letters, money orders and registered posts. Now it is nice that we can Buy Gold from post offices.

"Gold coins are an asset that can be kept for my daughter's marriage," she added.

To step up gold coins sale in Jharkhand state, India Post has extended its 5% discount, begun in December. "Discounts on Gold Coins always help people to go on buying more than they thought. So we will step up more discount offers in the coming months," a post official said.

India Post's deal with Reliance brings it 4% of the sale price, excluding tax. Typical fees on gold "investment jewelry" charged by dealers in rural India run to 10% or above. Gold Coins sold in Europe and North America are currently averaging 5-10% above the "spot" value of the metal they contain.

The official said some 280 post offices across India are already selling Gold Coins. Several post offices are offering discounts as per the regional festivals.

"While Kerala state offers discounts during the Onam festival in August, northern Indian states offer discounts during Diwali, the festival of lights in October. There is certainly a gold buying spree in post offices," he added.

India is the largest consumer of gold in the world. The approximate consumption of gold in India is around 700 tonnes per year.

As per the currency scheme India Post-Reliance Money-WGC scheme, the postal department is selling 0.5 gm, 1 gm, 5 gm and 8 gm gold coins packed in tamper-proof sealed covers.

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