After slumping to zero, will India's gold imports revive on April's festive demand...?
INDIA'S FESTIVAL SEASON is here and so can stronger gold sales lag behind? asks Commodity Online from Kochi, Kerala.
The states of Kerala, Assam and some other north-eastern regions will celebrate Vishu (Bihu) in a big way on April 14th, and that is an auspicious occasion for people to start new ventures and Buy Gold.
In Kerala, jewelers are expecting a rise in gold sales after a huge slump in the bullion market following the recent soaring Gold Price, compounded by the economic recession. And ahead of these Vishu celebrations, the Gold Price has just come down below 15,000 Rupees per 10 grams.
This may boost sales in the coming days.
Christians, a major consumer of gold in Kerala, will celebrate Easter on April 12, and jewelers hope that Kerala Christians will add gold also in the shopping list for Easter.
And then comes Akshaya Thritiya, India's second biggest gold-buying festival along with Dhanteras, which falls on April 27th. Hindu citizens, especially in the south, are expected to Buy Gold regardless of price, as they believe it will ensure lasting prosperity.
Last year, Akshaya Thritiya sales were at 48.99 tonnes, down 11% from 2007 in volume but sharply higher in cash terms, data from the World Gold Council shows.
Shops in south India will start to advertise for the Akshaya Thritiya festival from mid-April, luring customers with discounts or schemes such as free fabrication charges, even free car parking.
India's demand for Gold Bullion revived when gold broke below the psychological level of $900 an ounce last week, and some dealers placed orders overseas to replenish stocks after three months of almost zero imports.
Market watchers said if gold remains below that level, strong Indian demand will continue to be there.
Gold has now fallen about 13% since touching an 11-month high above $1,000 in February. India has been the world's biggest buyer of gold for many years, but imports slumped 48% in 2008 to 396 tonnes. The falling trend has continued this year with imports in the first quarter plunging more than 90% from the same period last year.