Ornaments losing sheen for cautious buyers

retailj
By retailj March 9, 2018 13:28

Ornaments losing sheen for cautious buyers

Gold jewellery sales in the country have fallen 15-20% since the Rs 12,900-crore Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi fraud came to light in early February as consumers have become cautious about purity of gold and are holding back their purchases, traders said.

“Reports have come out that synthetic diamonds have been sold as original diamonds by the Gitanjali Group.

This has created a fear psychosis among customers who are enquiring about the quality of jewellery,” said Nitin Khandelwal, chairman at All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF). Many customers may also be waiting for hallmarking of gold to become mandatory, traders said. The government had indicated that hallmarking would become mandatory from January but it was delayed because the rules were not in place.

“Mandatory hallmarking is expected to be rolled out anytime,” said Harshad Ajmera, president at Indian Association of Hallmarking Centres, adding that Bureau of Indian Standards has already worked out the rules and submitted them to the law ministry. The size of the gold jewellery market in India is to the tune of Rs 3 lakh crore.

In what is billed as the biggest fraud in the Indian banking system, Punjab National Bank has accused diamond jewellers Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of availing credit from overseas banks using fraudulent guarantees made in collusion with bank employees. Choksi’s Gitanjali Group could not be immediately contacted for comments.

Surendra Mehta, national secretary at India Bullion & Jewellers Association, confirmed the fall in demand because of the multi-crore fraud. “However, we are hopeful the situation will begin to improve from the end of this month,” he said. “Our guess is that people will shift from diamond-studded jewellery to plain gold jewellery if hallmarking is made mandatory for all jewellers,” Mehta said.

Some traders said rising gold prices, too, have affected demand. Gold prices held steady on Thursday as investors awaited details on US President Donald Trump’s proposed steel and aluminium tariffs, outcome of European Central Bank’s policy meeting, and the US jobs data.

Spot gold was at $1,325.69 per troy ounce at 1025 GMT on Comex. It hit a one-week high on Wednesday at $1,340.42, before closing at $1,325.49 an ounce. US gold futures were up 0.1% at $1,329.

Prathamesh Mallya, chief analyst for non-agriculture commodities and currencies at Angel Commodities Broking, said dollar has been at the forefront in the commodity space all through in the past one month wherein strength of around 2% has resulted in a price fall in most commodities including gold.

The sales data from the US does not depict a good story for gold prices as February sales of US Mint American Eagle gold coins fell 80% from the same month a year earlier, the slowest Februaruary sales in 11years.

Mallya expects gold prices to trade lower this month towards $1,270 per ounce even as MCX gold prices slip toward Rs 29,300 per 10 gm.

Image courtesy: goldpriceindia.com

 

retailj
By retailj March 9, 2018 13:28
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