Today’s AM fix was USD 1,399.50, EUR 1,066.69 and GBP 906.12 per ounce. Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,396.50, EUR 1,068.89 and GBP 909.42 per ounce.
Gold gained $3.90 or 0.28% yesterday to $1,402.10/oz and silver finished down 0.09%.
Gold initially traded down over uncertainty on whether the U.S. Fed will decrease its QE and adjusted to the news of India's hike on import duties for the yellow metal.
India should monetize their huge gold stockpiles of over 20,000 metric tonnes according to the World Gold Council (WGC) as reported by Bloomberg this morning.
“In the long term gold could be monetized as a financial asset," Aram Shishmanian, the CEO of the WGC said in India overnight.
The World Gold Council has approached the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to work with it so that bullion could be used as a financial asset, rather than just a physical asset.
Exactly how the considerable store of wealth that is the gold of Indian people could be monetized was not said.
The move comes close on the heels of a desperate series of steps taken by the Indian government as well as the central bank, aimed at reining in gold imports which is contributing to the rising current account deficit.
The World Gold Council said that they recognise the need for the recent government measures to contain gold imports, but warned that if such a strategy remains in place for long, it may lead to proliferation of the grey market, like it was before India liberalized gold imports about 15 years ago.
Indeed, there already reports of gold being traded in the black market in India.
Despite many regressive steps by the government and the RBI, there is no abatement in Indians buying gold in order to protect their wealth. The short panacea of increasing duties has led to short term falls in demand but demand has remained robust and is likely to do so as long as inflation remains stubbornly high.
India's consumer inflation remained high at 9.39% in April while deposit rates in banks are between 6% and 8.5%.
People in India might be more inclined to save in rupees in banks if their deposits were protecting them from the ravages of inflation. They might also save in rupees and stop buying gold if the RBI was not debasing the currency.
India’s reserve money supply rose 7% in the last 5 months alone. Reserve money outstanding in India rose by a whopping 1 trillion rupees to 15.4 trillion rupees in the year to May 31 according to a statement by the RBI.
Politicians and bankers in India are quick to blame gold for India's current account deficit. Gold is just the monetary messenger and it is never wise to shoot the messenger.
While significant demand for gold can be seen as a problem from the current account point of view, gold is the messenger and it would be prudent to listen to the monetary message it is sending.
Rather than attempting to prevent people from buying and owning gold, politicians would better serve their citizens by creating a favourable climate for start up companies and entrepreneurs which would lead to exports and employment growth which will lead to healthier economies.
They should work towards having more efficient capital markets and safer, more prudent banks.
Finally, they should ensure that there are positive real interest rates that protect the savings and capital of families, pensioners and companies.
This would gradually lead to Indian people reducing allocations to gold and trusting rupee deposits and other financial assets.
Rising gold prices and people saving in gold are symptoms of deeper financial, economic and monetary problems and not the cause.
Governments, in India and internationally, need to manage their economies better and rein in inflation and make their currencies a store of value that people will trust.
People have made very steady returns on gold in the past 12 years compared to most other asset classes. People preferring to own gold over paper currencies have protected their savings from currency devaluations in recent years and will do so in the coming years.
Therefore diversification and ownership of gold should be encouraged rather than discouraged.
People who own gold will be seen as prudent in time ... much more prudent than those who discourage gold ownership or those who do not own any gold whatsoever.