New Delhi/ Mumbai/ Kolkata/ Bengaluru/ Chennai: Spiralling yellow metal price has marred the Akshaya Tritiya spirit across most cities with sales showing a downturn on Wednesday.
Also geo-political tensions have weakened the rupee against dollar, which also impacted gold prices in turn.
"This year business is slow, as the price of gold is at the highest ever level on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. The footfall in shop is really low," Rahul Gupta, Director, P.P. Jewellers and Diamonds told IANS.
The price of gold was hovering over Rs 30,000 for 10 gm of 22 karat in the national capital on Wednesday. Pure gold or 24 karat was selling at around Rs 32,000.
Akshaya Tritiya, a holy day for Hindus and Jains, is believed to bring good luck and success. It is considered to be an auspicious day to bring home gold.
Mumbai Jewellers Federation President Rakesh Shetty said the reasons for the poor sentiments were the higher rates of gold compared to 2017 and the global political developments, including the West Asia crises.
"Customers are only making symbolic purchases in gold coins or very small jewellery items to mark the auspicious occasion. Barring that, the outlook is not very bright since morning among the retailers," Shetty said.
In 2017, the gold prices hovered around Rs 28,000 per 10 gms for 24 karat, which has now shot up to Rs 32,000 per 10 gms. This has made customers reluctant to go out shopping for gold.
"In comparison to last year, gold prices are substantially higher this year and for which, customers may be inclined to curtail volume to some extent so that they can keep transaction value within their budget," Senco Gold & Diamonds' Managing Director Shankar Sen told IANS in Kolkata.
Echoing Sen, Swarna Shilpo Bachao Committee's Secretary Bablu Dey said: "In this Akshaya Tritiya, gold price remains significantly high following the crisis in Syria and weakening of rupee against dollar. The prices remain at around Rs 31,500 per 10 gm while last year, the same was around Rs 28,000. Customers are confused about how long this high price trajectory will continue."
However, silver price remained at a stable range of Rs 40,000-42,000 a kg, which is also conducive for picking up the demand, Sen said adding the majority of attractions was still on gold ornaments.
Even in south India, which is considered to be buying more gold, the sale was tepid.
"Unlike in the past when the gold jewellery sales were higher by 15-20 per cent over the previous year, this year the sales is expected to equal last year's figure. In the previous years, pre-booking would be high, but this year it was not much. Further, in districts, the Cauvery protests seems to have dampened the sales as people are reluctant to make the purchases when there are protests on the roads," Jayantilal Challani, President, Madras Jewellers and Diamond Merchants Association told IANS.
Bengaluru seemed to be the only exception where sales were better.
"The footfalls were heavy on Tuesday evening and picked up on Wednesday post-noon. As more customers are expected to visit our stores later in the evening, we have decided to remain open till 10:30pm," a salesperson of Joyalukkas told IANS in Bengaluru.
Optimistically Somasundaram PR, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council said: "Gold has a special place in the Akshaya Tritiya celebrations and this year too, activity points to the return of positive sentiment. The gold market is more stable now following the remonetisation of the economy and significantly improved compliance following the transition to the GST environment."