By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai:(IANS) Jewellers are keeping their fingers crossed about gold prices on Monday while pointing to two possibilities – a further fall or maintenance of status quo.
“The prices are expected to fall further on Monday,” Madras Jewellers and Diamond Merchants Association president Jayantilal Challani told IANS here.
On the other hand, N. Anantha Padmanabhan, managing director of NAC Jewellers, told IANS that the prices may stabilise and may not start at a lower rate on Monday.
Much, however, depends on the Chinese market on Monday as it was on July 20 that gold prices crashed following large-scale sale of the metal.
According to Padmanabhan, prices hardened on Saturday by around Rs.30/gram to Rs.2,377/gram (22 carat) on the back of increased demand.
“Jewellery sales are around 50 percent higher. The footfalls are higher in shops,” he added.
Commodity analysts predict the yellow metal to fall in the range of Rs.23,500-24,000 (24 carat)/10 grams.
Gold fell to its lowest since 2010 as a strong US dollar and a temporary end of the Greek debt crisis weighed on the bullion, said Ravindra Rao, head of commodity research at AnandRathi Commodities Ltd.
He said the US dollar has proved to be the best performer against the major basket of currencies as the receding concerns over Greece and Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s strong intentions of a probable rate hike this year prompted investors to keep their focus on the safer currency, the greenback.
Rao also said the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 reached in Vienna also played a factor. Under the agreement, restrictions imposed by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations are to be lifted in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme.
“The safe-haven status that has been built up in gold due to the financial and political crises has faded now and money has already started flowing into riskier assets such as equities,” he said.
Indian gold imports in June 2015 dipped by almost 37 percent to $1.96 billion.
Imports of the precious metal were $3.12 billion in June 2014. In May this year, imports were $2.42 billion.
Aside from the weak fundamental picture, technicals also point towards bearishness in the metal, Rao said.
The first quarter (January-March) demand for gold in India was at 191.7 tonnes, up by 15 percent as compared to the corresponding period of 2014, the World Gold Council (WGC) said in a report.
Total jewellery demand in India for first quarter of 2015 was up by 22 percent at 150.8 tonnes as compared to 123.5 tonnes in Q1 of 2014.
Meanwhile, ASSOCHAM in a paper said gold was reaching the buying temptation zone in India.
According to the ASSOCHAM paper, Rs.25,000 or a shade below per ten grams in the spot market is a “Buying Temptation Zone (BTZ)” for the Indian retail demand.
The paper took note that in the futures market the prices are below this level for August delivery.
While gold is considered a hedge commodity, the question is whether it has now gone to the edge.
According to ASSOCHAM secretary general D.S. Rawat, gold is considered the best safe haven even among the central bankers all over the world.
“So, it would be premature to write off gold, even though in India a debate is under way whether as an investment class, gold is productive,” he said.
According to NAC’s Padmanabhan, the market seems to have factored in the potential US interest rate hike and other aspects.
“Even when the interest rates go up in the US, there will not be any drastic fall in the gold prices,” he added.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)