Bangalore: India owns over 18,000 tonnes of above ground gold stocks worth approximately $ 800 billion and representing at least 11 per cent of global stock, according to estimates of World Gold Council.
"This is equivalent to nearly half an ounce of gold ownership per capita, a figure which is significantly below consumption in Western markets, representing scope for additional future growth", says a WGC research paper entitled `India: Heart of Gold`.
In 2009, total Indian gold demand reached $ 19 billion, or Rs 974 billion, which accounts for 15 per cent of the global gold market, according to WGC.
Over the past ten years, the value of gold demand in India has increased at an average rate of 13 per cent per year, outpacing the country`s real GDP , inflation and population growth by six per cent, eight per cent and 12 per cent respectively.
The country currently has one of the highest saving rates in the world, estimated at around 30 per cent of total income, of which 10 per cent is already invested in gold.
Eily Ong, Investment Research Manager at the WGC, said: "India is the largest gold market in the world and, as such, the likely recovery of local gold demand to pre-crisis levels is of considerable strategic importance to the wider gold market.
"Gold is an integral part of Indian society and a foundation of wealth and savings in India. As consumers have adjusted their price expectations upwards, a further rise in gold jewellery and investment demand is anticipated and this trend is projected to continue over the long-run as local investors are buying gold driven by wealth accumulation motives," Ong said.