Gold and the India Factor

 |  Includes: GDX, GLD
by: FP Trading Desk

While September has traditionally been a poor month for equity markets, it is not the case for gold as the recent surge past $1,000 an ounce reached earlier this week attests.

Interestingly enough, one of the biggest factors in the bullion market may be India.

"Typically, September is the strongest buying month for the Indian wedding and festival season," a note from the mining team at Canaccord Adams said Wednesday.

Indian weddings typically occur between late September and March, and jewellers will also buy gold for the Hindu festival of Diwali, the Festival of Light, which falls in October, November or December.

However, there are some factors in the country this year that could put downward pressure on the market.

For one, the rupee has depreciated almost 10% compared with the greenback in the past year, and with gold's asking price rising 14% in the same period this translates to a 26.5% jump in price for Indian consumers.

"This price increase could exclude some price-conscious Indian consumers from the bullion market this year," the note said.

As well, India is experiencing one of lightest monsoon seasons in years, down 29% between June and August. Monsoons typically account for 80% of the country's rainfall, and with farming accounting for 18% of India's GDP and employing 60% of the population, a poor crop can curtail spending to a large degree.

In 2002, when India's monsoons fell only 19%, the country's GDP slowed to 3.8% from 5.8%, so the impact of 2009's dry monsoon season could well be even more significant.