Subdued gold prices trigger brisk jewellery sales on Akshaya Tritiya

Women try on gold jewellery on Akshaya Tritiya, in Chennai, on Tuesday Photo: PTI
Jewellers across the country were busy handling a strong flow of customers on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya on Tuesday. Most of them did better business this year, compared to the last, with some claiming that sales were higher by 15-20 per cent.

Contrary to Diwali-to-Diwali or calendar year-wise returns, Akshaya Tritiya investments have proven to be auspicious for investors who have seen gold prices go higher in seven of the past 10 years.

Many jewellers had symbols of various political parties on gold coins and jewellery, with discounts on making charges of up to 25 per cent, in order  to attract customers this ongoing election season. Ornaments and coins weighing less than 10 grams, with sketches of popular national leaders were also in high demand on Akshaya Tritiya, which is considered to be an auspicious occasion to buy gold.

“We've been seeing impulsive buying since the morning as gold prices have come off three-month highs. Consumer sentiment is quite upbeat with sales estimated to have risen over 15 per cent on this auspicious occasion. Jewellery sales, however, depend upon the type of showrooms. While high-end diamond jewellery is in demand in large showrooms, smaller ones have an average ticket size of Rs 30,000–50,000 in sales of bridal and light weight jewellery,” said N Anantha Padmanaban, Chairman, All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), a national body of jewellers.

With the number of wedding dates this year about thrice that of the last, strong jewellery sales have set a positive tone for the entire season.

Sudheesh Nambiath, Head, India Gold Policy Centre at IIM-A said, “Gold and jewellery retailers may be in for a surprise with a more-than-expected increase in sales this Akshaya Tritya. Past reports indicate that total volumes on this occasion are estimated at 40-50 tonnes.” A sharp fall in prices by over Rs 2,000 per 10 gram from all-time highs in the third week of February is certainly reviving sentiments towards gold when other markets are facing uncertainties.

Apart from physical buying, digital gold was also in great demand today. While exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and gold sovereign bond saw lower trade volumes on both the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange, extended trading hours for today are set to improve gold sales in these segments as well.

Somasundaram P R, Managing Director,India, World Gold Council said, “A favourable price, various trade offers and promotions point towards an increase in demand for both jewellery and investment products like coins and bars. While yet a nascent trend, digital gold buying platforms are quite upbeat. In spite of the elections, all the indicators point towards a good buying season.”

Akshaya Tritiya coincided with the long ongoing wedding season this year. Consumers who had held their purchases earlier amid forecast of El Nino impact on rainfall this monsoon season, went on to buy gold after the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) eased such fears and estimated a normal season this year. This is likely to revive a distressed rural economy and boost gold sales this year.

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