India’s timeless love for gold
Three things unite modern India: Cricket, Shah Rukh Khan and Gold. Well, the first two are hit-and-miss. The tradition of buying gold, whether as bullion or jewellery, dates farther back than written history. Differences of class notwithstanding, Indians see gold as a one of the most valuable things money can buy. Where does this deep seated need to acquire and hold onto gold come from? There isn’t an easy answer. Some economists point to the regions socio-cultural ties to the precious metal. Certainly, weddings, celebration of certain rites of passage and Hindu festivals like Dhanteras and Akshaya Tritiya legitimize the practice of buying gold and give it a heft and symbolism unlike any other kind of transaction.
Investors swear by its high re-sale value and price appreciation. Scholarship in Women’s Studies draw connections between the ritual of gift-giving at weddings (gifts of gold to a bride from her natal family) and women’s access to economic and financial power. These are just a few voices in a very lively discourse about India’s love affair with gold. According to a report by the World Gold Council, India has steadfastly upheld its reputation as the world’s number 2 consumer of gold and Indian household have approximately 23,000 tonnes of gold. World Gold Council’s report titled India Gold Market: Innovation and Evolution predicts that by 2020, Indians will be buying between 850 and 950 tonnes of gold.
Despite some short-term challenges (such as the demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax), experts say that 2017 looks as bright as your beautiful heirloom earrings. The GST, for one, will ensure quality and transparency for consumers. No more wondering whether you are getting your money’s worth. Another consideration is that demonetisation has probably just confirmed what you only suspected till now. While navigating an economic world of shifting sands, gold is hands-down your best bet. That’s not a generalisation. In a nation-wide survey conducted by the World Gold Council in 2016, 73 per cent of Indians agreed with the statement, ‘Gold makes me secure for the long term.’ Indians have spoken, and their words are worth their weight in gold.