Demand for gold is expected to be muted in 2023 even as the economic momentum remains healthy and the RBI repo rate hike cycle has paused after a prolonged monetary policy tightening, according to World Gold Council.
The outlook for gold purchases is highly dependent on rupee prices, which show no sign of abating, and which will act as a deterrent, and of course, monsoons, though Q4 as always, could throw a surprise, the World Gold Council said.
Futures prices of domestic gold rose to around 61,500 rupees (USD 752.49) per 10 grams. It is up nearly 12 per cent so far in 2023.
The council sees current trends point to less than 800 tonnes of demand for 2023.
India’s gold demand in the January-March quarter of 2023 fell 17 per cent year-on-year to 112.5 tonnes following record-high and volatile gold prices. This impacted sentiment and gold jewellery demand dropped to 78 tonnes from 94.2 tonnes in the same period in 2022.
“Since 2010, barring the pandemic gap, this is the fourth time that Q1 gold jewellery demand fell below 100 tonnes. Sharp rise in gold prices and volatility combined with fewer auspicious days to trigger consumption, has led to many households deferring buying perhaps in anticipation of a downward price correction,” Somasundaram PR, Regional CEO, World Gold Council, India said.
Investment demand, primarily gold bars and coins, too saw a drop of 17 per cent to 34.4 tonnes in January-March 2023 from 41.3 tonnes.
Global factors, primarily continued US interest rate hikes, pushing up the dollar coupled with rupee depreciation kept gold prices above Rs 60,000 per 10 gram, a nearly 19 per cent jump over last year.
Further, globally, gold demand in January-March 2023 (excluding the Over The Counter segment) was 13 per cent lower year-on-year at 1,081 tonnes.
Gold prices globally during the quarter averaged around near highs of USD 1,890 per ounce.
“Against the backdrop of turmoil in the banking sector, ongoing geopolitical tensions and a challenging economic environment, gold’s role as a safe haven asset has come to the fore. In this landscape, it is likely that investment demand will grow this year, especially with waning headwinds from the strong US dollar and interest rate hikes. Positive demand for gold ETFs has continued in Q2 so far, and the looming threat of developed market recession may be the trigger for inflows to accelerate later in the year. Central bank buying is likely to remain strong and will be a cornerstone of demand throughout 2023 – even if at lower levels than the record highs seen last year,” said Louise Street, Senior Markets Analyst at the World Gold Council.
Gold is widely considered a safe-haven asset and a hedge against volatility in financial markets. Gold’s performance has also been particularly strong in periods of high inflation
“As some economies teeter on the brink of recession, gold’s role as a long-term, strategic asset could take centre stage as it has a history of delivering positive returns in the last five out of seven recessions,” Street added.