Gold prices have crossed a record high internationally to reach around $1,930/oz, pushing prices in key consumer India to a fresh high of around Rs 52,500/10 grams.
Prices last hit a previous record high of $1,924/ounce in September 2011 during the Eurozone crisis.
Gold’s latest spike higher came amid heightened US-China political tensions. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged allies to use “more creative and assertive ways” to pressurise Beijing’s ruling Chinese Communist Party.
The US has closed down the Chinese consulate in Houston on charges of spying, prompting retaliatory action from China, which shut down the US consulate in Chengdu.
The relationship between two of the world’s largest economies appears to have broken down with US President Donald squarely blaming China for the global spread of the covid-19 virus.
The outbreak of the virus has fuelled gold’s rally which has risen by more than 25% year-to-date. Gold looks set to climb past $2,000/ounce in the prevailing climate of uncertainty.
More sellers, fewer buyers
“There are more sellers than buyers at current gold rates. Farmers and lower middle class buyers have been coming in to sell their gold,” says Girish Chokshi, a leading gold dealer based out of the western Indian state Gujarat’s capital Ahmedabad.
“Bulk of the purchases are happening in paper gold as you save a margin of around Rs 1,000/10 grams,” he said, adding that the volume of transactions are low despite eased lockdown restrictions.
Most jewellery shops started reopening last month after a nationwide lockdown was imposed in late March. “The current gold rates are too high. It’s not a healthy situation for our markets,” Chokshi said.
Indian gold jewellers have come under added pressure because of a looming January 15 deadline due to meet a compulsory hallmarking regulation.
It will mean that jewellers will have to liquidate at least 300 tons of gold by the deadline and replace them with fresh stocks, despite the low volume of transactions. Purchases are likely to pick up during the upcoming festival season, though people are likely to buy only token amounts.
Gold prices are expected to touch Rs. 55,000/10 grams by Diwali, the festival of lights that will be celebrated on November 14 this year, said Pankaj Arora National Convenor of All India Jewellers and Goldsmith Federation.