MUMBAI (Commodity Online): Global gold demand is set to fall in 2010 if the sales of the yellow metals on Akshay Tritiya were any indication.

Most of the buyers stayed home instead of visiting jewellery shops on Akshay Tritiya, an auspicious day for Indians to buy gold.

Most of the jewellery showrooms wore a deserted look on Akshay Tritiya (May 16) even though the price of gold eased from a record high Rs 18,508 on Friday to Rs 18,397 per 10 gm.

And, if gold demand falls in India, that will have a major impact on global demand as India is the biggest buyer of gold. Since the country imports most of the gold that it consumes overseas price movements along with the exchange rate influence prices here.

Gold prices are hovering around Rs 18,000 per 10 gm in India now. Demand for Akshay Tritiya across the country was around 20-25 tonne down with 45 tonne last year because of the high prices.

Consumers are adopting a wait and watch attitude, as merchants expect the prices to ease further from the current levels after the festive period.

Akshaya Tritiya is one of the two days of the year considered auspicious for the purchase of the yellow metal in India, the other being Dhanteras.

However, gold exchange traded funds (Gold ETFs) witnessed impressive volumes in special trading on Sunday on the country's premier stock exchanges.

The Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange on Sunday conducted special sessions in gold ETFs for Akshaya Tritiya.

Both the exchanges kept the market open from 9 am to 3.30 pm exclusively for gold ETFs trading.

Trading on the BSE was impressive. Kotak Gold, an exchange traded fund, saw trading volume zoom to 9,229 units against the two-week average of 1,779. Benchmark BeES topped the list with 80,000 units changing hands against its two-week average of 15,000.

While UTI Goldshare, SBI GETS and Kotak Gold closed the day on a positive note on the NSE, Gold BeES, RelGold, Religare Gold ETF and QGoldHalf finished lower; QGoldHalf tumbled by over 5 per cent on the NSE. Only Reliance Gold fell on the BSE.

Banks witnessed brisk gold sales on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya on Sunday. Major public and private sector banks, including SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India and Corporation Bank, had kept select branches open to cater to the gold demand from customers. Some of the banks also offered discounts.

It is learnt that HDFC Bank sold around 200 kg of gold on Sunday. Bank of India kept around 300 branches open for gold sales across the country. The bank offered a discount of Rs 10 a gram.