Muted response for gold sales on Akshaya Tritiya

New Delhi: High gold prices dampened sales today on Akshaya Tritiya, considered auspicious to buy yellow metal, with a section of industry players putting the sales figure 20-30 per cent lower than the year-ago level.

Indians are the world’s biggest consumers of bullion and Akshaya Tritiya, along with Diwali and Dhanteras, is seen as one of the most propitious occasions to buy gold.

Gold prices have risen sharply in the last few days and are currently at Rs 30,100 per 10 grams in the national capital. The rates were at Rs 27,100 on Akshaya Tritiya in 2015.

“As of now, it looks sales are lower due to high prices and other disruptions like mandatory requirement of PAN card for transaction above Rs 2 lakh,” Gitanjali Group Chairman and MD Mehul Choksi told PTI.

P C Jeweller Managing Director Balram Garg could not agree more. “In terms of volume, sales are flat. But in value terms, there is a growth of 10 per cent due to high prices,” Garg said.

“Jewellery sales are down 20-25 per cent in the national capital as gold prices skyrocketed by 11 per cent year-to-year,” Delhi-based All India Sarafa Association Vice-President Surinder Kumar Jain said.

“Expectations of a dip in the precious metal prices in the global market too weighed on sentiment.”

The Akshaya Tritiya sales have not been the same as the past year. There were less footfalls and demand from retail investors was also low due to high prices, a senior official from gold and silver refiner MMTC Pamp said.

Gold demand plunged 60 per cent during the ongoing four-day gold festival organised by the state-owned MMTC on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, the official added.

In South India too, there was lacklustre demand for gold as the Madras Jewellery and Diamond Merchants Association said it expects a 25-30 per cent drop in business in Tamil Nadu.

“Since there is election here, the model code of conduct prevents carrying large amount of cash. Compared to the last year, there are less footfalls and we expect at least 25-30 per cent drop in business,” the Association’s President Jayanthilal Challani said.

The sales are still continuing and final figures are expected to filter in only tomorrow.

Jewellers are offering discounts to boost sales, but this time the response is “lukewarm”.

However, All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation Chairman Sreedhar G V said painted a positive picture, saying jewellers expect 5-10 per cent growth in sales today.