Sep 10, 2011

Indians shift buying bangles to bars

Daniel's wife owns at least a kilogram of jewellery and he sports a gold watch. But he is also shrewd enough to realise that the world's biggest gold consumers are falling out of love with wearing their wealth, preferring to stock up on coins, bars and bullion-based investment funds as they look for returns safe from the ravages of inflation and the dictates of fashion.

"The current generation is not serious about gold. They have bangles but they don't wear them," Daniel, of Shreyas Investment Services, told Reuters in his basement office, after wrapping up an offer to clients of the SBI Gold Fund as an investment.

"Look at college campuses, Indian girls there are not interested in gold jewellery. My wife has about one kilo of gold jewellery but my daughters are not interested."

Demand for gold bars, coins and other pure investments in India, Asia's third largest economy, soared 83 percent in 2010 from the year earlier to 349 tonnes, according to GFMS, a precious metals consultancy that is part of Thomson Reuters.

The amount of gold used in making jewellery in 2010 rose 36 percent to 685 tonnes -- giving investment demand 34 percent of total buying, up from 28 percent in 2009.

"Gold has come a long way from being a jewellery item to an alternative currency," said Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, a director with Commtrendz Research.

"Investment demand could surpass jewellery demand in the next two to three years," he said. Read More.