Delhi, Mumbai in gold rush for Dhanteras as sales dip across rest of India
Defying an overall sluggish pace in the sale of gold across the country and notwithstanding the surge in prices, the Capital went on a yellow metal buying spree on the auspicious occasion of Dhanteras on Monday.
Gold prices stood at Rs 32,690 per 10 grams on Monday in Delhi as against Rs 30,710 per 10 grams on the same day last year. Unaffected by this, the country's business capital Mumbai too witnessed a decent bullion trade.
Jewellers in Delhi found the footfalls productive. "We are getting a good response from customers. Buyers from in and around Delhi are coming to us. The demand for gold coins has increased comparatively. Also, with the marriage season approaching, we are expecting a further rise in sale," said Vijay Khanna, owner of Khanna Jewellers.
Praveen Goel of The Sunar in Delhi's Karol Bagh market echoed the same. "The demand for gold has increased from the previous years in terms of individual purchases. People are taking gold as a secure investment, and this is the best we are witnessing after demonetisation."
Buyers in the city didn't seem bothered by rising prices. "Every year I buy gold on Dhanteras, no matter what the rates are. I get back more in return than I invest," said Veena, a resident of Janakpuri.
Gold refiner MMTC-PAMP India managing director Rajesh Khosla said, "There is a general reluctance to enter the market. Much of our demand for coins is from corporates this time."
However, in neighbouring Noida, Dhanteras shopping didn't witness much excitement. Seema Gupta, 35, was keen to buy a kundannecklace set but had to make do with gold bangles this Dhanteras.
She said, "Gold is a woman's best friend, but when the economy is not favourable you have to compromise."
Sandeep Seth, manager at Senco Gold and Diamonds in Noida, said, "Last year, we almost saw Rs 1 crore-plus sales every day. This time, it is moderate."
SALE SHOOTS IN MUMBAI
Jewellers in Mumbai witnessed rise in ornament sales on Dhanteras, mainly due to the upcoming wedding season.
Jewellers said high prices have not affected the sales. "There is a decline in rural Maharashtra as a drought situation has been announced. Earlier, rural Maharashtra used to witness higher sales, but now urban areas are doing equally good business. Budgets are affected due to rise in gold prices in the past month, but gold is still a good investment for long term. The tradition of giving gold in weddings has kept the demand up," said Kumar Jain, vice-president of Shri Mumbai Gold Jewellers Association.
Mumbaikars believe ornaments bought on Dhanteras always leads to gains. "Whatever I bought during Dhanteras has doubled and hence I am taking the tradition forward. I selected the ornaments two days in advance, but I will make payment today as it is auspicious," said a Mumbai shopper.
However, some jewellers in Mumbai blamed demonetisation for low sales.
"Currency is weak, so is the stock exchange. People don't have money to spend. Things are not as good as it used to be before demonetisation," said a jeweler, not wanting to be named.
All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) chairman Nitin Khandelwal termed the sales moderate this year.
"Footfalls are good, but sales are moderate so far. Till a few days back, we were thinking gold demand on the day of Dhanteras would be down 10-15 per cent, but looking at the pre-booking and footfalls, there should be least 5-7 per cent jump in sales today," Khandelwal told PTI.
He added that most buyers are restricting their purchase to tokens. Sentiments across the country remained low on Monday. Jewellery shops wore a deserted look in Chandigarh this Dhanteras.
"There is a slump in gold market this year. Gold prices have gone up and only a few are buying ornaments. Majority of people are now buying 22-karat gold coins," said Manoj Agarwal, owner of PC Jewellers.
Jaya, who came shopping at Sector 22 of the joint capital of Haryana and Punjab, said, "The impact of rising prices can be clearly seen on festivals. Dhanteras is also not untouched."
Jaipur, the hub for jewellery manufacturing and styling, witnessed a palpable slump in the market this Dhanteras. Most shopkeepers attributed this to the prevailing cash crisis in the market.
Talking to India Today TV, one of the shopkeepers said, "On an average, the sale of gold has neither increased nor decreased but the footfall has definitely reduced this time. Cash flow is also not there."
In Chennai, the sheen of the yellow metal was not too bright either. With Diwali falling on a Tuesday in the southern metro, jewellers are not hopeful of brisk sales.
However, local industry watchers said the market looks promising with the onset of the wedding season in January.
N Anantha Padmanaban, managing director of NAC Jewellers, quipped that lightweight jewellery is the flavour of the season.
"We are doing 25 per cent less business than what we did last year," he said.
IT professional Latha Swaminathan lamented: "We don't have a habit of buying gold during Diwali as it's not our tradition. We used to buy gold during Akshaya Tritiya, but the increase in gold prices is a dampener," she said.
(With inputs from Nayanika Singhal, Manjeet Sehgal, Dev Ankur Wadhawan & Lokpria Vasudevan)