Monday, January 02, 2006

Australian Gold Explorer Operating in India

Deccan Gold Mines Ltd sees much potential in India.

Deccan Gold Mines Ltd sees what GATA sees:

"According to GATA (Gold Anti Trust Action Committee), about 15000 tonnes of gold has been loaned by the Central banks to the Bullion banks for which they paid about 1% per annum. The Bullion banks then sold the “loaned” gold on the open market and invested the proceeds at 6-7% per annum. It was a sweet deal until the gold prices started to move upwards. Now the bullion banks that are in debt to the Central banks have to buy it back to repay the gold borrowed from the banks. It is therefore in their interest to keep the prices down and in this respect GATA claims that it has collected mountains of evidence to suggest that each time gold rallies, the Central banks are selling more government gold to cap its price. If GATA is right, the short positions of 15000 tonnes or more have the capacity to propel the price of gold much higher than it is today. (Note: A landmark legal case is before a US federal judge alleging a variety of collusive, manipulative activities in the gold global markets. You can track the developments on various gold sites - Check our links section for details)"

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Freeing of Indian Gold Imports on Hold as Reserve Bank Puts Spoke in Wheel

6:53p ET Sunday, October 23, 2005
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

The news story from India appended here shows the ordinary and candid work of one particular central bank that, fearing competition from gold, seeks to discourage gold ownership among individuals and to steer their wealth into paper financial instruments instead.

The argument over just how productive and socially useful gold is as an investment is an old one, but perhaps even advocates of a system of fiat currency and central banking will have to acknowledge that what is happening in India, as described below, is another skirmish in their long-running war against gold, their war against any standard of value outside their control. That war is waged on one front or another every day.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

* * *

Freeing of Indian Gold Imports on Hold
as Reserve Bank Puts Spoke in Wheel

By Subhomoy Bhattacharjee
The Times of India / Economic Times
Gurgaon, India
Monday, October 24, 2005

NEW DELHI -- Freeing of gold imports may take some more time, as the Reserve Bank of India has advised the government to go slow on the proposal.

This would mean the plan to allow more agents to import the metal to meet the ever-increasing demand for gold could be delayed beyond this fiscal year.

RBI has advised caution because there has been a recent spurt in imports of gold into the country. Since gold also doubles as an instrument of savings for large sections of the economy, the central bank is examining whether there is an incipient trend among some investors to use the metal to hedge themselves, at the cost of savings in the financial sector.

Addressing the Assocham AGM on Friday, finance minister P Chidambaram said the government would prefer that investors put their savings in financial instruments instead of using gold and other physical assets.

The proposal involved allowing a large number of private importers and jewellers to directly import gold from abroad. Currently only a few designated agencies such as MMTC are allowed to import gold bars. Since 1997 the RBI has authorised these agencies, including commercial banks to import gold, but only for sale or loan to jewellers and exporters. At present 13 banks are active in the import of gold.

Under a decentralised gold import regime, there could be as many as 2,000 importers. The finance ministry and RBI are looking at a long-term vision of developing a gold deposit market in India. Consumers could then buy standardised gold of smaller denominations at retail counters, and could keep them with banks in exchange for gold certificates.

The development of a more robust market for the yellow metal will also kill the residual hawala that might be taking place through gold smuggling because of the marginal premium commanded by the metal in the domestic market, caused at present by restrictive imports. A thriving gold deposit market in the future could also help monetise large amounts of gold lying with households. This could help divert such savings for productive investments in the economy.

India is the world’s largest consumer of gold in jewellery, with an annual demand estimated at about 800 tonnes.

While the country exports about 60 tonnes of the metal annually, it imports about 600 tonnes. According to figures with the Multi Commodity Exchange of India, the total stock of gold in the country is about 13,000 tonnes, which is about 9 percent of the world stock.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Local Banks Strike it Rich with Gold Coins

By Arindam Saha
India Times / The Economic Times
Haryana, India
Thursday, October 13, 2005

MUMBAI -- As the price of gold scales an almost two-decade high, local banks are moving in to take advantage. Their target this time is the gold coin retail segment. Corporation Bank, HDFC Bank, and IndusInd Bank are now jostling for a slice of the pie in this segment of the market.

A small gold coin weighing just 2 gm is being retailed for close to Rs 1,500 by some of the market players keeping in mind the upcoming Diwali and Eid festivals. The banking regulator has now ensured that customers have the choice of buying these coins from either banks or traditional retail gold outlets like Zaveri Bazar in Mumbai.

The latest entrants to the business of hawking gold coins are following in the footsteps of two seasoned players in the market - ICICI Bank and MMTC. And there are many others who are waiting in the wings with similar products lined up.

However, with less than a month to go for this year's festival, latecomers may well miss out on cashing in on a good business opportunity. It is not just the small gift purchases from retail customers that banks are eyeing. Many corporates like HPCL, BPCL and Nabard figure among their list of bulk customers.

Banks, unlike retail gold outlets, offer customers the comfort of proper assaying certificates and hallmarking. Though big retail shops often provide those details on request, several others are yet to follow the global practice. For Corporation Bank, the entry into the gold coins segment is like pouring old wine into a new bottle. It was the first public sector bank to import gold in India after RBI sanction in '97.

"Currently 10,000 gold coins have been imported and all coins have goddess Laxmi's picture," said K Balasubramanyam, senior manager of the bank. Each coin weighs 8 gms and comes with a purity certificate. Almost five years ago, Corporation Bank tried its luck with coins, but the scheme ended abruptly.

IndusInd Bank has also launched similar coins. Coins come in 5-10 gm range with fineness of 99.9%. Any customer can pick up the coins by paying cash up to Rs 50,000 at one time. More than 50 branches of the bank have been designated as sellers of such coins.

Like other, HDFC Bank also sells 24 karat and 99.99% purity gold. All such coins are imported from the PAMP Refinery in Switzerland. However, unlike the other sellers, HDFC does not sell gold in coin shapes. Its 5 gm gold product is available in bars.

With rising gold prices, business has been brisk for banks. Many banks had purchased gold when the prices were low compared to the current price of $475 a troy ounce. However, for the customer, what counts is the day's prevailing price. The sale of gold coins by banks is open to non-bank customers too.

Like banks, PSU MMTC is also in the fray. It offers gold coins ranging from a tiny 2 gm to 20 gm. SD Shindhe, manager of MMTC, said that customers include individuals, retail and corporate entities. It also sells silver coins of 25 gms or more. According to reports, MMTC is targeting to earn close to Rs 2 crore in the festival season.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Indian Government Sells Surplus Gold and Silver

The Indian Government has decided to sell surplus gold and silver lying in its mints.
There is about five tonnes of surplus gold and 1670 tonnes of silver lying in Indian Government mints, Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam, said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

He said the bullion market demand would determine the quantity of gold and silver likely to be sold.

India Gold Jewelry

India's gold consumption is expected to increase 11% in 2005, because of the lower gold prices and an increase in promotion activities by India Gold Jewelry manufacturers, a senior bullion trader in India told Dow Jones Newswires.

"India's gold consumption will touch 700 tons in 2005, as the gold price is coming down and we are seeing so much advertising of Gold Jewelry," said Suresh Hundia, a prominent bullion trader and former president of the Bombay Bullion Association.

Indian gold consumption was 630 metric tons in 2004. India is the world's largest gold importer and uses 99% of its total gold availability for Gold Jewelry making.

Indian gold sales touched the year's high on Wednesday, as India celebrated Akha Teej festival.

Buying Gold Jewelry is considered auspicious in Akha Teej. This year the gold jewelry buying was phenomenally high because of media hype and advertising by companies," said Hundia.

The demand for gold was so strong during ‘Akshaya Tritiya’ that several traffic jams occured in Hyperbad.

Although Gold Jewelry businesses worked overtime, vehicles were stranded on the arterial roads in Paradise, Begumpet, Panjagutta, Raj Bhavan Road, Basheerbagh, Abids, Dilsukhnagar and several other places.

It took about 40 minutes for commuters to navigate the traffic jams near Amrutha Mall, Panjagutta, which is now a Gold Jewellery hub.

The wide publicity for 'Akshaya Tritiya' by the Gold Jewelery merchants led many to queue up at Gold Jewelery shops in Hyberbad.

Many motorists who could not make it through the traffic jams were seen parking their vehicles and walking to the gold jewellery shops.

Unprecedented Gold Sales in India

The actual Hindustan Times article is here

An estimated 30 tonnes gold sold on 'Akshaya Tritiya' day

Press Trust of India
Chennai, May 12, 2005

An estimated 25 to 30 tonnes of gold, valued between Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 1,800 crore, has been sold during the last five days in Tamil Nadu on the occasion of "Akshaya Tritiya", according to a top World Gold Council (WGC) official.

"It has been absolutely unprecedented. Sales have far exceeded our expectations in Tamil Nadu," WGC-India vice president K Shivarama said.

This metropolis accounted for "slightly" over 25 per cent of the total sales and the maximum sales was on Wednesday, the day of "Akshaya Tritiya", he said.

He said in 2004, in all southern states and parts of Mahrashtra and Gujarat (in WGC promoted areas), the total sales was a mere 15 tonnes.

There are different versions for the celebration of "Akshaya Tritiya", with one story saying that it was the day on which Adi Sankara sang his "Kanakadhara sostra". Another version is that it happens to be the birthday of Lord Parasurama, one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu.

Monday, May 02, 2005

High India Gold Prices and Wedding Demand

Reuters has run a story titled High India gold prices dampen wedding demand. A gold trader told Reuters, "gold buying in the western city of Ahmedabad, the India's top market, have dwindled to 800 kg a day from more than 1,000 kg a year ago, while in Bombay they have dropped to 400-500 kg from about 700 kg."

The report goes on to say "Gold demand is good at present but not as good as last year," a bullion dealer based in the southern city of Madras told Reuters.

"Demand in Madras, India's fourth-biggest market, has fallen to about 200 kg a day from 275-300 kg a year ago." Gold Bullion dealers told Reuters.

Bill Murphey from GATA.ORG points out this report fails to note that early May last year world gold prices were falling to the 2004 low in the $370s, having reached the $420s in April. Murphey says that India in other words, was conducting one of its periodic gold buying sprees which occur when the world gold price drops suddenly. Murphey says in perspective, it is surprising demand is so robust, comparatively, this year.

"Gold traders said many gold jewellers were maintaining below average gold inventory as they considered current gold prices too high." People thought gold prices will also fall the way silver price has dropped, but that has not happened so far," Girish Choksi," a bullion dealer in Ahmedabad told Reuters

Murphey says this indicates solid Indian gold buying will continue.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Gold Demand Increases

Gold dealers in India told Reuters that gold buying in India's financial capital of Bombay had surged. With gold demand running at 800 kilos (479 Million Rupee) a day from around 250 kilos (149.8 Million Rupee) in March.

In the western city of Ahmedabad, gold demand doubled to 1,500 kilos (898.8 Million Rupee) a day from 700 kilos (419.4 Million Rupee) a day in March.

Gold Price in Kilos

The marriage season has just began in India and lasts till the end of May. Parents give gold jewellery to their daughters in Hindu marriages in India.

India Gold Jewellery

Chennai will host Gold Jewellery India International Exhibition 2005, from May 20-22, 2005.

The Gold Jewellery Expo is been put on by the World Gold Council and Madras Jewellers & Diamond Merchants Association.

Over 150 gold jewellery manufacturers are expected to be in attendance. They will come from West Bengal, Maharashtra, Surat, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, said K Shivram, Vice-President, World Gold Council.

Gold Jewellery manufacturers from Singapore, Italy, Turkey and Malaysia, are also expected to take part, he said.

"The Exhibition will give opportunities to businesses involved in gold jewellery, equipment, packaging and accessories in India and abroad and to interact and transact business with gold jewellery manufacturers, gold jewellery machinery and packaging manufacturers, importers, exporters, gold jewellery wholesalers and retailers, as well as others connected with the gold jewellery industry," Shivram said.

Around 10,000 trade visitors connected with gold and gold jewellery are expected from India and abroad to visit the fair, said Uday Kumar Vummidi, Chairman of the Exhibition Organising Committee.

South India is the largest and biggest market for gold and gold jewellery in India. The South India market accounts for more than 45 per cent of the total gold demand in India which is 600 tonnes per year.

The Gold Jewellery India International Exhibition will be held at the Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai.