The golden rule that buyers are following this Diwali is to get the yellow metal in coins and bars, not jewellery
At Rs 17,000 per 10 gram, the yellow metal still holds gold enthusiasts under its spell, especially before Dhanteras. But there has been a paradigm shift in the form buyers prefer their gold in.
Instead of buying jewellery, enthusiasts are making a beeline for gold coins and bricks, or as the jargon says, bullion.
With buyers keen on gold coins and bars this Diwali, bullion traders are expecting to do big business before Dhanteras around Rs 10,000 crore.
The reasons buyers and bullion traders give for the shift are plenty. Other than the sentimental, there are strategic ones at play.
"Customer preferences are changing," said Harilalbhai Zaveri, a prominent bullion dealer.
"Earlier, customers would buy gold jewellery, since they were considered the best investment option. Nowadays, customers are keen to buy gold biscuits, since they are easy to hoard.
The customer is also assured of best value for money. Gold jewellery is no longer an investment option. It is gold bullion and coins that have resale value," he said.
Though the embellishments of jewellery may not be there on the ingots, foreign impresses are. "In coins, the American Gold Eagle, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf and South African gold coins are in demand.
We also get clients who ask us to emboss the figure of Goddess Laxmi sitting on a lotus. Several high net worth individuals have also been enquiring about platinum," a bullion executive of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri and Sons said.
As analysts will tell you, strategy has outdone tradition when it comes to the gold trend this year. "Gold buying patterns in India have begun to follow that in the West.
People are still purchasing jewellery, but they are now keen to retain the resale value of gold. There are others who use it as collateral to raise loans from gold loan companies.
They are put to hedge their risks, if the Sensex crashes." a bullion analyst informed.
But, although the form may have changed, the frenzy has not. Even with the surge in prices, 50 percent more than last season, customers are bullish on the bullion. And the sellers, steeped in brisk business, are more than pleased.
"Even those who cannot afford the higher prices are buying gold, but in smaller quantities. It looks like we will sell more volumes this time," said Suresh Hundia, president of the Bombay Bullion Association in Mumbai.
Jewellers and traders said the shift toward buying bullion is here to stay.u00a0 "Small investors have started buying gold coins.
The corporate sector has begun to gift gold coins to their staff," said Harmesh Arora, director of NIBR Bullion , a Mumbai-based gold refinery that sells coins.
The jewellery is for me and my sister, while the bullion bars are for my husband.
Shanti Haridas, a Colaba housewife
I buy gold every year and I am buying this year as well. I am buying both gold bars and gold jewellery.
Jamuna Shah, at S J Bullion at Zaveri Bazaar