Sales of gold coins, bars to grow at 40% on rising incomes: WGC

Sales of gold coins, bars to grow at 40% on rising incomes: WGC

Mumbai: Sale of gold coins and bars in the country are likely to maintain an annual growth rate of 30-40% over the next few years as higher incomes spur investment purchases, a World Gold Council (WGC) official said on Friday.

“Indians are earning more, spending more and investing more," Keyur Shah, associate director of WGC’s India office, said at a trade conference here. “Over the past three to four years, a new trend has emerged due to which the bars and medallions segment is growing as a distinctly separate category."

Sales in the April-June quarter of 2007 grew by a record 98% year-on-year to 77 tonnes. Last year, Indians bought 186 tonnes of gold coins and bars—a rise of 34% over the previous year, WGC data revealed.

ICICI Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd and Reliance Money Ltd are already selling imported gold coins, while the country’s largest lender, State Bank of India, and some smaller banks are planning to enter the market soon. WGC figures showed India’s current retail landscape is dominated by small manufacturers churning out products for jewellers—the biggest sellers of gold in India.

But investment in coins and bars—ranging from 0.5gm to 100gm—has picked up in the last two years.

Spot gold prices on Friday were at $659.10 (Rs27,155)/659.90 an ounce, flat from $659.20/660 in New York on Thursday, when it hit its week-high at $665.05 an ounce.

India is the world’s biggest consumer of gold. It imports the metal mostly from Europe.