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China tops India in gold demand for second quarter

MUMBAI: China’s gold demand surpassed India’s for the second successive quarter, growing at an annual rate of 10% to 255.2 tonne in the January-March 2012 period while sales in India contracted 29% to 207.6 tonne, data from the World Gold Council (WGC) showed.

India’s gold jewellery demand of 152.0 tonne also lagged China’s 156.6 tonne in the quarter, WGC said in its gold demand report. Chinese demand had expanded to 201.6 tonne in the previous quarter against 173.0 tonne in India. Experts say Indian demand is expected to bounce back.

China is increasingly buying the precious metal to preserve wealth amidst ongoing concerns over inflation. India’s gold jewellery and investment demand was impacted by 19% and 46% respectively in the two quarters due to the weakening of the rupee against the dollar, an import duty and a 21-day strike by jewellers.

“It is too early to predict anything for India. The upcoming marriage season, the rollback of duty on jewellery and a better-than-expected monsoon would show good inventories and demand in the second quarter,” said Ajay Mitra, MD, Middle East and India, WGC.

Gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have grown more than three times over the last one year. “Investors are willing to put their money in safe transactions,” added Mitra.

The assets under management were worth Rs 9,614 crore in January 2012 against Rs 3,518 crore in January 2011 while it reached to Rs 9,886 crore in March against Rs 4,400 crore in March 2011. Portfolios have gone up to 4.75 lakh from 3.19 lakh in March last year.

“China’s stronger currency value could be a reason that is keeping it ahead of India. But a revival in the Indian market is due which is likely in the second quarter and further,” said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist, CARE ratings.

“We are at par with China. Had our strike and import duty not risen, we would have been ahead of China. Further, demand has just started picking up in the jewellery segment and we are quite hopeful of recording better numbers,” said Mehul Choksi, CMD Of Gitanjali Group.

More demand is expected in the coming quarters because buying decisions have been put off due to a weak rupee. “The strengthening of the rupee by 5-6% might bring back the investment demand to a large extent,” said T Gnanasekar, director, Comtrendz. 

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Posted by on May 18 2012. Filed under Business India News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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