Investors may turn to gold this Diwali as volatility hits equities

Investors may turn to gold this Diwali as volatility hits equities

KOLKATA: Volatility in the stock market may help turn the attention of Indian investors to gold in the upcoming Dussehra and Diwali festive period, said bankers and analysts.

At the retail level, jewellers expect better sales this festive season compared with last year, when issues such as the need for customer verification had impacted consumer sentiment. But the depreciating rupee and its impact on prices pose a risk, as demand could take a hit if gold reaches Rs 33,000-34,000 per 10 grams. Due to the stock price volatility, “markets may witness a flight of capital to safe assets like gold”, Shekhar Bhandari, business head (global transaction banking & precious metals) at Kotak Mahindra BankNSE 1.30 %, told ET. “The yellow metal may generate some appeal among investors.”

Gold has given a return of 8 per cent since January 1, trading at Rs 31,450 per 10 gms in Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar on Monday. In comparison, shares rose much of the year — the BSE Sensex was up 15 per cent towards the end August — but have now given up most of the gains.

Aditya Pethe, managing director of Mumbai-based jewellery firm Waman Hari Pethe, said investment in gold was meant for longer periods. “At the retail end, we are expecting better demand this year compared to last year provided prices do not shoot up from here,” he said. “Gold demand has remained muted for over two years because of demonetisation, KYC (know your customer) and GST issues. This time, the price is the main factor and also uncertainty in the market. But despite all these we are expec ..

Sales of gold in the festive October-December quarter of 2017 was 2 per cent up at 249.3 tonnes. Jewellery demand during the period rose 4 per cent to 189.6 tonnes, while investment demand fell 3 per cent to 59.6 tonnes. The industry is hoping to surpass these numbers in the last quarter of this year.

A senior industry analyst, however, presented a different view. “Demand will remain muted this year as the market is not conducive for consumer spending. Also, rural demand might take a hit as rains have not been uniform in all parts of the country,” he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

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