Though the price of silver has scaled to dizzying heights, investment demand in India is at the helm of the price fever. As the country celebrates the Ganesh festival, silver ornaments and coins fly off the rack.
Author: Shivom Seth
Posted: Monday , 13 Sep 2010
MUMBAI – –
It could not have come at a better time. Silver prices jumped by 0.30% in the futures market in Mumbai on September 13, as speculators enlarged their positions given the pick up in demand in the spot market. Silver prices have been steadily gaining over the past week on fresh demand from jewellery and gift manufacturers.
Over the past five weeks, the metal has outpaced gold, logging in a gain of around 14%. According to analysts, the metal’s spurt above $20 is the first ever since early 2008.
The white metal continued its north-bound journey for the seventh straight trading day, following sustained industrial demand. The ensuing Ganesh festival has also helped buoy sales,” said Lalubhai Zavereemal Toda, a Mumbai-based silver trader and diamond exporter.
Though the metal is generally used in the photo and electronic industries and also in jewellery making, it has a specific significance in India during festival times. The second-half of the year is when the festive season starts to roll, and many Indians buy gold and silver coins, utensils and gift items to usher in the festivities. Though the price rise in the case of gold has been phenomenal during the last couple of months, most traders insist that it has not dampened sales. “Demand for gold and silver coins and ornaments perks in the second-half of the year,” said Shailesh Siddique, an analyst with ABN AMRO, a banking institution. “The surge in the price of precious metals including gold and silver reflects the buoyancy of the Indian economy. Gross domestic product (GDP) for the current fiscal is expected to touch 9%,” he added.
He went on to say that a lot of interest has been seen in silver in recent days after gold started rising; “Silver was cheaper. Its price has gone up faster. The gold to silver price ratio is currently pegged at 65.06; it was 67 just two months ago. Prices in the international market are also moving up on safe-haven buying and weak macro economic data.”
Agency newswires reported that silver has outperformed the yellow metal since August 23, gaining 6% as compared with gold’s 1.4% gain, as investors bought the white metal due to its relative cheapness.
In Mumbai, demand for silver has improved substantially as jewellers and manufacturers of gift articles have turned active buyers to meet the requirement for the on-going Ganesh festival, when India’s favourite elephant-headed God graces most Indian homes for around 10 days. This year, the remover of obstacles, as the benign deity is called, will stay an additional two-days.
“I am surprised at the latent demand for silver and gold, both in the form of jewellery and as an investment,” said Ashoke Moitra, an investment banker. “There is enormous liquidity despite inflation, which is fuelling demand for cars and jewellery. This trend will continue all through the year and with the Indian marriage season coming up as well, we anticipate demand for the precious metals to remain robust throughout 2010,” he added.
The wedding season in India, the world’s largest gold consumer, runs from November to December and from late March through early May. Market analysts said a slight dip in precious metals during the monsoon, encouraged stockists and jewellery fabricators to enlarge their positions to accommodate the festival season demand.