Gold stood at Rs 26,985/10 g here on Monday, against Rs 29,060/10 g on Akshaya Tritiya last year (May 21, 2012). As gold prices were low in the last few days, many customers had placed advanced orders for jewellery, and received deliveries on Monday. Many had also placed advanced orders as delivery time had increased.
Haresh Soni, chairman of the All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation, said, "Last year, the number of buyers was large, but the order value was lower. This time, the ticket size (order) has also been higher." He said a rise of 20-25 per cent in gold sales was expected, as the "sentiment for gold buying has turned positive".
Today, gold was being traded lower internationally, on a stronger dollar. The price in London fell to $1,430/ounce against Saturday's $1,447/ounce.
Silver fell by Rs 180, closing at Rs 46,095 a kg here on Monday.
Rajesh Mehta, managing director of Rajesh Exports, said, "Today, our sales were 30 per cent higher - at 160 kg of gold."
On Monday, the Reserve Bank of India also issued a circular, restricting gold imports by banks on a consignment basis. Though this dampened the mood of jewellers, consumers were unperturbed.
Suvanker Sen, executive director of Senco Gold, said, "As the festival is auspicious to everyone, there is a tug of war going on . Demand is high for both gold jewellery and coins; this year, gold sales will definitely be higher than last year by 18-20 tonnes. On Akshaya Tritiya, we estimated jewellery sales across India to be 30 per cent higher by volume and 25-30 per cent higher by value. Surprisingly, there is demand for both heavyweight, as well as lightweight jewellery. The sale of wedding jewellery is certainly at the peak, as it is always considered a future investment."
In the futures market, however, the sentiment wasn't as good. C P Krishnan, whole-time director, Geojit Comtrade, said, "Despite it being Akshaya Tritiya, gold declined in the domestic market, in tandem with the moves in the foreign market. Investors' interest in gold, through the exchange platform, is seen as relatively low compared to previous years. The brutal liquidation last month and the broad bearish outlook for the commodity have contributed to the negative sentiment. A strong dollar and outperforming equity markets shifted investors' attention to other riskier assets."
Customers were also buying gold from online platforms. The National Spot Exchange saw brisk gold-buying on Monday.
While the value of the gold bought was close to last year's Rs 567.25 crore, in terms of tonnage, it was higher, as prices were seven per cent lower.
For gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stock exchanges kept trading open till evening. On the National Stock Exchange, the gold ETF segment clocked a trading turnover of Rs 691 crore. The trading volume was 14 per cent higher compared to last year's Akshaya Tritiya day, according to the exchange.
Delivery volumes in gold ETF on the NSE platform stood at Rs 510 crore. Volume of BSE gold ETFs stood at Rs 614.75 crore.