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"Anticipation of Higher Gold Price" Dents Indian Sales

GOLD SALES by Indian households – the world's heaviest buyers – are slowing in 2011 in anticipation of a higher Gold Price, says a leading industry figure.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in the southern Indian tourist resort of Kovalam, and quoted by the Wall Street Journal, "It's not what the price is, but the expectation of what the [Gold Price] will be that is driving the trend," said Jeffrey Rhodes, global head of precious metals at advisory firm INTL FCStone.

"The belief in India is that prices are going to go up."

Typically, Indian households stop buying and become net sellers during the monsoon and harvest months of midsummer. So-called "scrap sales" are also brought out by high prices for Gold Bullion in the international market.

But scrap flows from Indian households so far in 2011 – and despite the run of new record-high Gold Prices – are running 5% below 2010 levels, which ended the year at 90 tonnes, says the WSJ.

India's private-sector gold demand totaled 248.3 tonnes between April and June alone this year, according to data compiled for market-development group the World Gold Council earlier this month, rising 38% by tonnage from the second-quarter of 2010.

"The same trend [of slowing sales and rising demand] is likely to continue well through the year," reckons Rhodes.

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