I had the opportunity to reconnect today with one of the largest bullion dealers in India, Pushpak Bullions Pvt. Ltd., for a fascinating update on whats been happening in the Indian gold market.
Speaking to head of operations, Vishal Vyas, I learned this collapse has been particularly unique for Indians, as the sustained strength of the Rupee, has aided the country in vacuuming up hundreds of tonnes worth of supply over the last few weeks (see currency chart below).
Starting out the interview, when asked just how severe physical demand in India is becoming, Vishal explained that, “There is extremely high demand in this Indian local market for gold, as in small investment products, and in jewelry…there is 50 tonnes coming in every week in India, 30 tonnes [get] exhausted in Bombay itself, only in Mumbai…[and during the collapse] the demand was such that, suppliers were not able to supply for almost a week…[and currently] jewelry manufacturers are running short of raw material, as in the gold which is necessary for manufacturing is not available.”
According to Vishal, physical supply shortages are intensifying, as, “[Right] now there is a clear fight going on [with] how to procure metal as early as possible, because the spot market doesn’t have supplies assured, and people feel they’ll remain out of supply…they feel that if they don’t get gold on time, they’ll lose their export orders, or orders from the domestic market in jewelry. This is something that’s interesting. When you don’t have raw material to produce, [operations] become difficult, then you [desperately] need metal. Right now the situation is like that.”
With respect to the investment response seen at Pushpak stores across India, Vishal noted that, “I have come across many investors and high net-worth individuals who were waiting for this price to come…the Indian market is such that, the lower the prices go, the higher will be demand…so everybody’s divert[ing] their investments into gold [right now]...because people here believe that gold is the ultimate [way] to hedge their investments against inflation…the only option, or the safest option left for an investor—is to invest in gold.”