LONDON (Commodity Online): Will it or won't it? That is the million dollar question haunting global bullion market analysts now. With Akshay Tritiya being celebrated in India on May 6, global bullion market is eagerly waiting for the response Indian buyers are about to give to the auspicious day.
Akshay Tritiya is Indian Hindus' auspicious day to buy gold when Hindu families flock to jewellery shops to buy new ornaments. However, this time around bullion analysts in London and Singapore are skeptical about the response from the Indian buyers as the gold prices are at a record high in India over Rs 18,000 per 10 gm.
Traders expect to spot the first sign of this year's trend on Askhay Tritiya, when demand usually jumps.
Gold is up 12.6 per cent so far this year to record levels on investors' fears that a $1-trillion rescue package to prevent a Greek debt crisis from spreading to other euro zone states would eventually fail, or stoke inflation.
On Friday the metal was heading for its fourth consecutive weekly rise, matching a run that ended in late November. Gold stood at $1,234.40 an ounce, up $2.57 from New York's Thursday notional close.
Traders say many Indians are responding by buying smaller quantities to maintain the same expenditure, or recycling old jewellery. Those who can afford to spend more may wait for prices to stabilise before they buy.
After Akshay Tritiya, demand may spurt only for the festivals of Ganesh Chaturthi in September and Dhanteras in November.
In India, where gold has long been considered auspicious, the bulk of demand is for jewellery.
But a small and growing number of investors are turning to gold to diversify portfolios and protect themselves against inflation, which has driven prices higher and crowded out jewellery buyers.
Gold as an investment is a relatively new asset class in India, where headline inflation soared to a 17-month high of 9.9 percent in March.
Last year India's demand for gold jewellery was 405.8 tonnes, while that for investment was at 74.2 tonnes, data from the World Gold Council shows.
Trade officials have their fingers crossed for good rains in the monsoon period from June to September, vital to boost incomes in the rural areas home to two-thirds of Indians. Normal rains are forecast but predictions can often go awry.
If the monsoon is bad, it will be a crisis. Sales will fall more than they did last year.
This year Jan-March, India has officially imported 192 tonnes of gold. This compared with a mere 26 tonnes during the same period last year. Buoyed by this consumption, trade and industry had prepared for a major launch for the May-June season on May 16.