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Indians making most from longest gold price slump

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New Delhi/Mumbai/Kolkata/Bengaluru, Even as gold may be losing its sheen in the global market, logging its longest weekly loss in terms of prices since 1999, the yellow metal still seems to be in favour across India with low prices luring people to buy, stakeholders maintain.

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If the footfalls at the India International Jewelry Show in Mumbai that concluded on Aug 11 is any indication, some brisk buying in gold has been reported. While the metal may no longer be an investment option, its lure has still not faded away from people’s psyche, experts added.

“If prices stabilize at these levels, we expect gold sales will be good during the Diwali season. People are not buying gold bars and coins as an investment option,” said Premjit Sengupta, chief marketing officer of Senco Gold in Kolkata. But demand for jewelry was good, he added.

From a peak of $1,900 per ounce in September 2011, spot gold prices dipped to a new five-year low of $1,086 in global markets past week, breaching the $1,100 barrier on signs of a recovery in the US economy, a fall in unemployment there and stock and debt marketing offering better returns.

This has resulted in the gold import bill for India, among the top three consumers of gold in the world, going down but demand remained robust. According to the World Gold Council, the demand in India in 2015 is expected at around 900-1,000 tonnes, against 891.5 tonnes in 2014.

Rajesh Khosla, managing director of MMTC-PAMP India, a gold and silver refining and minting joint venture between India’s state-run metals major and a reputed Swiss bullion brand, gold imports in fiscal 2015-16 could fall as much as 18 percent to $28 billion or so.

“With the price of gold decreasing from $1,250 to $1,100 per ounce in the past six months, import bill has decreased substantially. Thereby it has reduced stress on the current account deficit,” said Rajosik Banerjee, partner with KPMG in India,

“This will give more flexibility to the Reserve Bank of India to handle interest rates. Further, this price scenario may also lead to some realignment of portfolios,” he added.

Drawing comfort from the footfalls at the Mumbai exhibition, Pankaj Parekh, former vice-chairman, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, “We are experiencing phenomenal sales throughout the country.”

He said the situation was only going to improve in the coming months, as the festive season will be in full swing and people waiting for prices to fall more will take some decisions. “Globally, people have stopped buying. But in India they are waiting for prices to come within range.”

Sengupta sought to explain the reason why the past week has seen a slight slump in sales. “This is only normal, given how gold prices are reacting to market forces,” he said, adding since the interest is in jewelry, and not bars or coins, people are waiting for the festive season.

Little wonder Khosla estimates India’s gold imports in July at 70-75 million tonnes, as against 57 tonnes in June. “Jewelers have started stocking up for the festive season.”

(IANS)

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First Hindu Temple Lays Foundation Stone in Abu Dhabi

The temple will be built in phases with all the pink stones and marble being transported from Rajasthan to the UAE capital, the Khaleej Times said

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The temple is being built on 13.5 acres (55,000 square metres) of land gifted by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the Indian community. Wikimedia

The historic foundation stone-laying ceremony of the first traditional Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi was performed on Saturday in the presence of officials from India and the United Arab Emirates as well as thousands of members of the community.

The ceremony was presided over by Mahant Swami Maharaj — the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha — the organisation building the temple, along with other priests. Indian Ambassador Navdeep Suri attended the event in the presence of over 2,500 Indians from the UAE and across the world, according to Gulf News.

Suri and BAPS Hindu Mandir committee head and community leader B.R. Shetty were among those who laid foundation stones. Some 50 priests from India were part of the ceremony, the Khaleej Times reported.

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Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Wikimedia

UAE’s Minister of Climate Change Thani Al Zoyoudi and Ahmad Bilhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Sciences, were among the attendees.  The temple will be built in phases with all the pink stones and marble being transported from Rajasthan to the UAE capital, the Khaleej Times said.

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The stones of the temple will be hand-carved by artisans in India and then transported to Abu Dhabi. Once completed, this will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East.

The temple is being built on 13.5 acres (55,000 square metres) of land gifted by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the Indian community. (IANS)