Gold Fever Spreads to India

Nov. 3.09 | About: SPDR Gold (GLD)

There were rumors China [Apr 25, 2009: China Begins Building Gold Reserves] was going to buy this stash of gold from the IMF; but it appears India "won". This will drop the International Monetary Fund stake, but still keep it at spot #3 in world's reserves, and send India screaming up the charts from 14th [Oct 13, 2009: Largest Gold Reserves by Country]. Gold fever is spreading across the globe as central banks go wild printing paper currency....

Via Reuters:

  • The International Monetary Fund has sold 200 tonnes of gold to the Reserve Bank of India for $6.8 billion, quietly executing half of a long-planned bullion sale that has threatened to slow gold's ascent.
  • The sale, which surprised traders who expected China to be the leading buyer, will relieve the gold market of some uncertainty over how and when the IMF would sell 403.3 tonnes of gold, about one-eighth of its total stock.
  • It also fueled speculation that other governments -- including Beijing -- may be ready to diversify their reserves even at near-record gold prices, helping soak up IMF supply that the fund may otherwise be forced to sell on the open market.
  • Although the IMF's plan to sell a share of its gold holdings in order to increase low-cost lending to poor countries had been flagged for a year before it was formally approved in September, both the speed of the deal and the buyer were a surprise.
  • Although India is the world's biggest consumer of gold, primarily in the form of jewellery and investment among its billion-plus people, its central bank had given few indications of being a front-runner in the move to diversify into bullion.
  • An IMF official said the sale was concluded at an average price of about $1,045 an ounce and that the transaction would be paid in hard currency and not in IMF Special Drawing Rights.
  • "The fact that they've sold the gold to India would suggest there's going to be fewer official sales by the IMF on the market. So that might be a positive theme for the gold price," said David Moore, commodities strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
  • The market's focus has now shifted to China, which has reportedly been in talks with the IMF about buying some of the fund's bullion as Beijing seeks to shift some of its more than $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves away from the U.S. dollar. "Now people may think China will buy the other half," said Ronald Leung, director of Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.
  • “The fall in the U.S. dollar seems to be pushing all the central banks to strengthen their portfolio with gold,” said N.R. Bhanumurthy, professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi. “Gold is a safe store of value compared to the U.S. dollar.”
  • “It’s more or less certain that government of India expects the U.S. dollar to weaken,” said Suresh Hundia, president of the Bombay Bullion Association Ltd., in an interview today. The purchase is “not so much about India betting gold prices will increase but that the dollar will fall. They are looking to diversify their foreign exchange reserves.”

[Oct 29, 2009: Paul Tudor Jones 3rd Quarter Investor Letter - Another Gold Bug]

[Oct 8, 2009: Is Ben Bernanke Ruining Indian Weddings?]

[Sep 29, 2009: NYT - Out from India's Alleys, Gold Loans Gain Respect]

[Mar 17, 2009: John Paulson Joins David Einhorn as Gold Bug with Stake in AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU)]