Monday, November 29, 1999

Akshaya Tritiya ensures a Golden Sunday for yellow metal lovers

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Despite high prices, jewellers and bank counters across the country on Sunday reported good sales of the yellow metal on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, considered auspicious to bring home wealth in any form. Sales could have crossed last year's levels in spite of record prices, dealers said.In Mumbai, people thronged jewellery showrooms and bank branches to purchase gold and diamond ornaments. Many banks, including ICICI, Bank of India, HDFC and others, reported fairly good sales. The famous Zaveri Bazaar — the gold hub of the country — was buzzing with activity. Various gold ornaments like necklace, ear-ring, nose ring were among those favourites buy, they said."Last year we sold 12-14 tonnes of gold. Sales this year could cross last year's levels," said a member of the Bombay Bullion Association. The Akshaya Tritiya festival is one of the two most auspicious days of the year to buy the yellow metal in the world's largest gold market. The general belief is that people get lasting prosperity by buying precious metals on the day.The National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) conducted special trading sessions from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Gold ETFs saw a mixed trend. On the BSE, except Reliance Gold, all the ETFs were gainers for the day, on the NSE, only Kotak Gold, UTI Gold and SBI Gold were gainers."I think the occasional spurt would not affect gold sales in India and the demand will remain steady for another six months or so. People expect that there would be more correction and sales would be impacted accordingly. But I don't think there would be any huge correction in the near future," said Bhargav Vaidya, a gold expert in Mumbai.The price rise in the yellow metal is not a domestic phenomenon. "I think the whole world is influenced by the currency movement. As far as the Indian market in physical gold is concerned, the upward movement of prices is not only from the jwellery demand, but also for the hedging demand overseas," said Anand James, senior analyst of GeojitComtrade Ltd.Standard gold (99.5 purity) last week settled at Rs 18,215, a net rise of Rs 260 or 1.45 per cent per ten grams over last weekend's close of Rs 17,955. Standard gold has risen by Rs 1,640 or 9.89 per cent while pure gold by Rs 1,645 or 9.87 per cent in the last four weeks. Pure gold (99.9 purity) surged of Rs 270 or 1.50 per cent per ten grams last week from its previous week's close of Rs 18,035.

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