India's gold demand has seen a 47 per cent year-on-year jump in the July-September quarter to 139.1 tonnes, following a strong rebound in economic activity and recovering consumer demand, the World Gold Council said in a report.
According to the World Gold Council (WGC), gold demand in India is bouncing back to pre-COVID levels and going forward the outlook looks bullish. The country's overall demand stood at 94.6 tonnes during the September quarter of 2020, the WGC's Q3 Gold Demand Trends 2021 report said, adding that in terms of value, India's third-quarter gold demand went up by 37 per cent to Rs 59,330 crore, compared to Rs 43,160 crore a year ago.
"This reflects a combination of low base effect and return of positive trade and consumer sentiments. This is primarily driven by what appears to be a firm grip on the pandemic with higher vaccination rates and falling infection rates, leading to a strong rebound in economic activity," WGC Regional CEO, India, Somasundaram PR told PTI.
Going forward, imports might not be very significant in the fourth quarter as little bit of stocking up for the festive season has already taken place during the third quarter of 2021, he stated.
"Looking ahead with restrictions being gradually lifted across the country, retail demand is bouncing back to pre-COVID levels. With the upcoming festive and wedding season, there is all the more enthusiasm towards gold demand, and we anticipate it to be the busiest gold-buying season since the start of COVID," said Somasundaram.
He further said that demand for digital gold has also increased manifold, innovative tech initiatives, tie-ups with digital gold and UPI platforms by leading jewellers has brought about a substantial increase in volume of buyers and investors preferring online purchases.
"In the months ahead, soaring commodity prices and logistical costs are expected to impose further pressures and the RBI has already adjusted its inflation expectations higher. Rising inflation tends to drive gold demand. Gold is perceived as a strong hedge against inflation and decades of data supports this assumption. While we have not made any forecast for the rest of the year, barring any unexpected twist in tale, we could see a sharp spike in demand in the last quarter of 2021, and is likely to be one of the best quarters in a decade," he added.
As per the report, total jewellery demand in India for the quarter under review increased by 58 per cent to 96.2 tonnes, compared to 60.8 tonnes during the July-September quarter of 2020. While in value, jewellery demand grew by 48 per cent at Rs 41,030 crore, as against Rs 27,750 crore a year ago. Total Investment demand for the third quarter increased by 27 per cent to 42.9 tonnes, from 33.8 tonnes in the same quarter of 2020. In value terms, gold Investment demand in July-September went up 19 per cent to Rs 18,300 crore, from Rs 15,410 crore a year ago, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the total gold recycled in India declined by 50 per cent to 20.7 tonnes in the period under review, compared to 41.5 tonnes in the same period of last year.
Total net bullion imports, without taxes, in the third quarter surged by 187 per cent to 255.6 tonnes, from 89 tonnes in the same quarter of 2020.
"While gold jewellery and investment demand for bars and coins also grew in a quarter that tends to be seasonally subdued due to monsoons and inauspicious periods like Pitru-Paksha when buyers stay away from buying gold. Softer gold prices have also generated significant consumer interest ahead of seasonal demand," Somasundaram said.
Gold prices during the third quarter averaged at Rs 42,635 per 10 grams, compared to Rs 45,640 in the same quarter of 2020 and Rs 43,076 during April-June 2021, he noted.
Trade activity witnessed during various buyer-seller meets and anecdotal feedback from manufacturers indicate that the fourth quarter festive season could be the best in several years, with strong imports much ahead of the third quarter demand, he noted. He said a 50 per cent drop in gold recycling also underlines strong consumer intent to hold gold rather than sell it, aided by a robust institutional market for loans against gold that continues to grow.