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10-tonne gold sold in Kerala on Akshaya Trithiya

10-tonne gold sold in Kerala on Akshaya Trithiya

Author: VR Jayaraj
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 2, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/173453/10-tonne-gold-sold-in-Kerala-on-Akshaya-Trithiya.html

Recession and higher costs failed to deter Keralites from collecting gold ornaments in tons this Akshaya Trithiya as they bought more than 22 per cent of the total gold sold in the country on that day, April 27.

Malayalees had begun observing Akshaya Thrithiya, believed to be the most appropriate day for buying valuables, only five years ago, but they have surpassed the societies that had been observing it traditionally in buying gold. The belief is that buying valuables on Akshaya Trithiya would make the buyer's whole year prosperous.

The total gold sold on this Akshaya Trithiya was to the tune of 45 tons and ten tons of this was sold in Kerala. Gold merchants in Kochi said that they had feared a fall in the sales this year despite their huge campaigns but the fears had been proven wrong. The value of the gold sold on the single day was approximately Rs 1,400 crore.

As per the World Gold Council estimates, there had been a fall by eight per cent in the sales on Akshaya Trithiya nationally, but market-watchers said the sales this year had literally surprised them as the gold buyers, especially those in Kerala, had disregarded the worldwide recession and the higher cost of the yellow metal. The cost of gold, which stood at around Rs 10,000 a sovereign during Akshaya Thrithiya last year, was nearly ten per cent higher this year.

The World Gold Council figures say that nearly 49 tons of the metal was sold nationally for Akshaya Trithiya last year, but experts in the field point out that this could not be considered a higher figure in comparison to this year's figures as the Akshaya Trithiya was observed on two days in 2008.

The four South Indian States account for almost 60 per cent of the total gold sales in the country on Akshaya Trithiya. Traditionally, the people of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are considered to be the biggest buyers of the yellow metal on this day but, according to gold sector experts, Kerala is fast surpassing them in this.

They say Kerala had bought almost 40 per cent of the total gold sold in South India this Akshaya Trithiya despite the fact that the Malayalees had begun to observe this day only five years ago. Gold merchants in Kochi said that they had expected the sales to show a fall by 20 to 40 per cent compared to last year but the people had responded well to the promotion campaigns of the World Gold Council and by the individual jewellery showrooms.

The average volume of legitimate gold business in Kerala could be anywhere around Rs 15,000 crore, though traders themselves say that the exact amount would never be known. According to some informal estimates, this could come to as high as Rs 25,000 crore.

Malayalees are known for their affinity to the yellow metal. The amount they spend to buy gold is almost ten times that spent on buying rice, their staple food. Gold merchants say that despite recession, the habit of Malayalees' spending as far as gold is concerned is getting more and more intense. An average middle class family could have married away its girl with gold worth Rs 10 lakh a year ago, but this had now gone up to a minimum of Rs 15 lakh.

Gold had been selling at Rs 1,400 a sovereign 25 years ago. At the turn of the millennium gold price had stood at Rs 3,000 per eight grams here. On January 1 last, gold was selling in Kerala at Rs 9,856 a sovereign but on December 7 last it had touched the unimaginable mark of Rs 10,000. Since then it climbed steadily till the end of February after which there had been a small fall in price.

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