Gold holds little glitter for price-wary buyers

New Delhi, Oct 30 | Updated: Oct 31 2005, 06:21am hrs
A gold rush is on globally, with investors grabbing the precious metal at whatever price they can. But the normally avid gold bugs in India are not impressed.

Imports into the country, the worlds largest gold consumer, are down to a trickle in the peak festival and wedding season, and dealers are scouting for customers.

We open our shops and wait for customers the whole day and go back without doing any business, said Ranjeeth Rathod, who runs a gold jewellery store in Chennai.

Prices hold the key to Indias passion for gold. Gold importers are on a holiday, said Rajesh Khosla, managing director of bullion marketing firm, Metlloy Trading Services. We have always been price sensitive and we continue to do so...whatever be the international factors.

Investors tend to be attracted to gold in times of economic uncertainty, especially with rising inflation, because of the metals perceived role as an investment holding value.

The precious metal has been getting support from high crude oil prices and good demand from gold jewellery makers, but has been under some pressure because of a strong dollar. The recent strength in gold, even when quoted in currencies other than the dollar, suggests the metal is becoming an alternative investment for global investors.