Platinum performs better in India, imports surge 140% in January

As government restrictions continue to keep gold imports under check, the data released by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) indicates that platinum exports have more than doubled during January this year. India’s platinum imports during the month totaled $1.51 million, soaring by nearly 140% over the year.

At a time when gold imports have come down due to the Indian government’s decision to impose an import duty on gold, platinum imports have almost doubled. According to bullion dealers, platinum imports have touched 40 tons in 2013 from 18 tons in 2012.

According to Platinum Guild International, the retail demand for platinum jewellery grew by 30% in 2013. The imports statistics for 2013 substantiate the strong rise in demand. Profit margins on platinum jewellery at retail level in India were greater than gold in 2013, prompting more retailers to enter the platinum market. The metal’s popularity too boomed in the country especially due to marketing initiatives driven by industry groups such as Platinum Guild International.

Platinum sales driven by retail jewellery sales

The platinum sales were largely driven by retail jewellery sales, although platinum as an investment product has not gathered much momentum in India. According to a report in The Economic Times, it was also the rising gold prices, because of the supply crunch, that had pushed up silver and platinum. Quoting Prithviraj Kothari, vice-president of the India Bullion and Jewellers Association, the report said platinum prices went down by US $200 per troy ounce in 2013 compared to gold, which had made this precious metal popular among aspiring young Indians.

Recent statistics released by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said imports of platinum had surged over 140 per cent during January 2014. The imports during the month totalled about US $1.51 million.

What was even more interesting was that the demand for platinum jewellery in India had taken giant strides with men. Indian men ages 25-40 were veering towards platinum jewellery, according to some Indian retailers.

An official at Orra Jewels, which caters to gold, diamond and platinum jewelry, said their stores had witnessed around 30 percent growth in platinum jewelry sales across the country, and around 40 percent growth in the men’s ring category.

This trend was also noticed during Valentine’s Day celebrations, where platinum and diamond jewelry pieces reportedly outpaced sales of flowers and branded apparel, according to some local media reports.

The one metal that could have countered platinum’s popularity was silver, often referred to as poor man’s gold. But the Indian government, acting quickly to curb surging imports, had raised the import duty on silver to 10 percent from 6 percent, leading to a drop in silver imports.

 




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