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Showing posts with label banks exiting commodity business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label banks exiting commodity business. Show all posts

Sunday, 22 February 2015


    FDI in Indian Bullion Industry is the key to Growth 

                                                                        by Mr. Prithviraj Kothari, MD – RiddiSiddhi Bullions Ltd.

The most discussed topic of this month is the "Budget" and how it will affect the commodities  business. Lately, I have been asked about my views and expectations from this year budget. I would like to put forward the following points-

Expectations are high for a massively reformist Union Budget that would give the somnolent economy the jolt it badly needs.

There are quite a lot of aspects that need immediate consideration for action as the bullion industry has been suffering a lot due to the current norms and practices.

Research & development is the key to the future of Indian bullion industry. Data by China Gold Association (CGA) shows China produced 451.8 tons of gold in 2014, up 5.52% year on year. It has been the eighth consecutive year for China to become the biggest gold producer globally.

Primarily, there is a need for R&D to be carried out in an efficient way in the country, which will increase production of the metal. This will reduce dependency on imports and in turn help the government to increase the forex reserve. As the metal will be extracted locally, customers will be benefitted pricewise, due to local production.
R&D is costly which requires huge investment, but with the help of FDI we can surely work out the way to get the most out of it. In turn, FDI would help in strengthening our rupee and in turn reduce the depreciation of our currency.
We expect the following to be executed immediately and in a short period of time.

a.    GST implementation is a must: If implemented, it is expected to provide a significant boost to investment and growth of the economy. GST will have a significant impact on almost all aspects of businesses operating in the country, including the supply chain, sourcing and distribution decisions, inventory costs and cash flows, pricing policy, accounting systems and transactions management.
We expect a flat 1% GST across India to be levied by the government, which would replace most indirect taxes currently in place. 

b.    Introduction of Option product for Commodity exchange is must: Those who have the exposure should be given an opportunity. It will be a boon for a bullion trader and jeweler. By using this instrument they can hedge their future position and in a way provide the necessary risk cover. An investor will also highly benefit through this instrument. He/she will get a chance to invest in a larger quantity of metal with a lower investment and reap benefits till the expiry date.

Commodity Transaction Tax (CTT) reduces market participation and lowers liquidity.

c.    Allow Depository schemes for bullion industry corporate: Gold Deposit Schemes are offered by banks in which investors deposit gold for a period of certain 3 years earning a fixed rate of interest.  Currently that has been reduced to 6 months. The depository scheme that the banks and MFs are enjoying should also be allowed to corporate, working for bullion industry. It will help to increase the gold reserves and in turn benefit the customers willing to deposit their idle gold. The government should instead harness the existing reserve of gold in our country rather than turning towards imports and implementing alarming hike on custom duty. Hike in the duty on imports will in no way; curtail the demand, as the precious metal has always been regarded as one of the best investment options for social security.

d.    Introduce schemes to convert unaccounted gold to accounted one: Indian households have nearly 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes of Gold. I expect that this budget would show an effective way to gain revenue by exporting it. I would suggest Government of India to introduce schemes like minimum tax scheme wherein an investor is charged minimum tax to convert his/her unaccounted gold into an accounted one. By this the government treasury will also increase and the idle gold can be put to use. The other scheme can be a VDS scheme (voluntary disclosure scheme) by which the Gold /Silver can be brought to the market.

e.    Extend Gold Loan scheme period and LC Tenure: We expect an increase in Gold loan scheme period to extend from 180 days to 360 days and LC tenure from 90 to 180 days. As of now Gold Loan is allowed up to 180 days which implies, a jeweler has to rollover his/her position twice in a year and that in turns leads to increase in imports. If the loan period is extended to 360 days, one cycle of loan will be reduced. A direct effect will be reduction in imports.

f.    NRI’s to be allowed to bring more Gold in India: Currently NRI’s are allowed 1 Kilo of Gold while arriving in India. Earlier this was 10 Kilos. We feel this cap should be raised back to the earlier levels or even more which would help in import reduction and lower the Forex pressure.

“The primary purpose of this blog by Prithviraj Kothari - MD, RSBL, is to educate the masses of the current happenings in the Bullion world.”

- Previous blog -
"Gold Perplexed"

Sunday, 11 January 2015


                                                                                                      - By Mr. Prithviraj Kothari, MD, RSBL

Though we did see some trading in precious metals on Jan 1st and 2nd, it was the week from 5th-9th Jan that was actually considered the first volatile trading week of 2015.

The main news doing the rounds for the week was from US- minutes of the recent FOMC meeting and the non-farms payroll report.

Apart from the macro reports there were the following financial reports that were out in the week.
  • US non-manufacturing PMI, factory orders and trade balance monthly reports.
  • Europe, MPC rate
  • The EU flash CPI
  • Unemployment report,
  • GB’s manufacturing PMI
  • Germany retail sales
  • The French trade balance.
  • In China, CPI and trade balance
  • And several economic reports from Canada and Australia.

But of all the above mentioned reports, the most influential for gold was the unemployment report.

Gold was seen to have a positive start for the week as it firmed above $1200 an ounce on Tuesday hitting a near three-week high, as tumbling global equities and concerns over Greece's future in the euro zone prompted investors to seek safety in the metal.

The uncertainty behind the euro zone is once again tempting investors to run after gold as a safe haven asset. This risk off sentiment in the markets may help bullion be stable at its recent upswing.

Adding to this we also saw that holding in the world’s largest gold-backed exchange traded fund- the SPDR Gold trust, rose 0.25 per cent to 710.81 tonnes on Monday, though still near a six-year low. But this rise did reflect improving investor sentiments towards gold.

Bullion traded in a ranged manner for most part of the week while volatility was high on Friday. The Greenback jumped on likely positive economic reports from the US coming week whereas speculation increased that Fed might talk about raising interest rates as also anticipated from its monetary policy minutes report due next week and likely putting weight on Bullion.

We have always seen that precious metal markets and the equities markets are inversely related. This week too, we saw precious metals rising while equity market and commodity bellwethers including copper and oil hit fresh multi-year lows. After a disappointing end to 2014 gold is beginning to build a base above $1,200 an ounce – the metal advanced 1.2% to $1,223 an ounce in late trade Friday, the highest since December 11.

Gold's gains since hitting four-year lows early November now top 7% and is made more remarkable by the fact that the advance has come despite a rampant dollar which hit a 12-year high against major currencies yesterday and a Friday jobs report that confirmed that the US economic recovery remains on track.

Though the market players were a lot dependent on the non-farm payrolls report, it did not show much after effect on gold.

The gold price wobbled briefly but was ultimately unaffected by a non-farm payrolls report that, while mostly positive, was not potent enough to shift the Federal Reserve’s rate-rise timeline.

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 252,000 in December, which beat the 241,000 forecast, while the unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Additionally, the change in total non-farm payroll employment for October was revised to 261,000 from 243,000 and the change for November was revised to 353,000 from 321,000.
The forthcoming labor reports are expected to create added significance as there are expectations that the Federal Reserve in on the verge of raising interest rates. The current market consensus is that rates will rise in mid-2015 although this is a moving target that will be dictated by jobs and inflation data.

As said earlier, too gold is one such commodity which takes price direction from macro developments rather than its own demand-supply wherein we feel downside risks for the commodity may stay in the near future

- Previous blog - "An Impressive start For Gold In 2015 But A Dull End"

Monday, 5 January 2015


By Mr. Prithviraj Kothari, MD, RSBL


Every year, when we start afresh, each one has a hope- a hope that markets will do good. There was a similar feeling now as it was when 2014 began.

At the start of 2014 expectations were high that the gold market could shake off and recover from 2013’s drop, where prices ended the year in negative territory for the first time in 12 years.

However, despite strong optimism, gold once again closed the year in negative territory.
In the gold market, optimism was strong during the first half of the year. But later, the news hovering around the interest rate hike for gold pulled its prices down.

Fed’s interest rate hike played a significant role for gold in 2014. This helped drive the US dollar higher and pull down gold prices lower. 

By the end of 2014, Fed Chair Janet Yellen stated that interest rates will remain unchanged for the next two meeting. Hence analysts and economist expect that the Fed may bring in the first rate hike as early as June.

A thought some believe that interest rate hike may come in soon but there is part of the market who feel that any renewed expectation of looser U.S. monetary policy for a longer period could create some weakness in the U.S. dollar and in turn help push gold prices higher. 

Now we await next year’s crude prices and other commodities to see if inflation rears its head or if geopolitics suddenly moves gold.
This was a general scenario for 2015. Now let’s take a glance on the first trading day of 2015.
The first trading day of 2015 has been exciting for the gold market as prices have swung within a $27 dollar range during the session. Silver prices followed gold's volatility; as of 1:57 p.m. EST,
Gold closed 1.6% higher; reclaiming $1,200 after nearing $1,211 in intraday trade, as global risk-aversion and a weaker dollar boosted its safe-haven appeal.

Gold rebounded from a one-month low on Friday, as lower equities counteracted the impact of a stronger dollar and falling oil markets, but still posted its third straight weekly loss.
Spot gold fell to its lowest since Dec. 1 at $1,168.25 an ounce after the dollar strengthened, but rebounded to $1,194.10, up 0.63 percent at midday on a disappointing ISM manufacturing index report.

Gold added 0.2% to close above $1,186. Once again varied reasons behind this.
  • Weak U.S. manufacturing data lifted demand for the metal as an alternative asset.
  • The rising probability that a new Greek president, when elected, will break the terms of the ECB bailout sent yields Greek bonds and European stocks dipping as traders ran for safety in gold, silver, and the yen.
  • Factory reports from Europe and China were even weaker. This added to the expectations that their respective central banks will be forced to add more stimuli.
  • Gold was further supported by a falling dollar, which lifts demand for commodities denominated in it by making them less expensive to users of other currencies. 

Though we have always been discussing the precious metals market in general, this time I have also menti0oend the global economies which will down the line affect gold prices in 2015.

Chinese Economy- 
We all know that the Chinese economy is heading towards a slowdown. This has led to a rout in commodity prices, may continue to haunt global investors this year as well.
The country’s central bank helped the market with interest rate cuts and there is a reasonably good chance for a further cut, given that the real rate of interest is high.

US Economy
Like last year, this year too the interest rate move of the Federal Reserve will be a noticing factor to watch for.
The Fed believes that the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market are nearly balanced and expects to remain ‘patient’ to regularize its stance of monetary policy, as per the statement published in December. 

Other Economies
The ECB will we forced to continue with its easy monetary policy as high unemployment, unutilized capacity and low inflation continue.
Apart from these, growth may inch up in Europe and Japan, but may drop in the UK.
Among the emerging markets, Russia will decelerate, while Brazil may not pick up appreciably. 

If you strongly believe that growth will improve globally his year then it could prove to be incorrect.
Thought the much-dreaded US quantitative easing (QE) concluded smoothly last year, but with Japan, Europe and China eyeing QE options, what may be in store for investors in 2015?
We need to wait and watch this for!


$1180-$1207 an ounce
Rs. 26,000- Rs.27,500 per 10gm
$15.40- $16.30 an ounce
Rs.35,000- Rs.37,800 per kg

- Previous blog - "Too Much Noise In The Market"

Thursday, 15 May 2014

My view on the closure of London Silver Market Fixing

On 14th May, 2014 the London Silver Market Fixing (the ‘Company’) Limited announced that it will cease to administer the London Silver Fixing with effect from close of business on 14 August 2014. Until then DB, HSBC and the Bank of Nova Scotia will remain members of the Company and the Company will administer the London Silver Fixing and continue to liase with the FCA and other stakeholders.

The LBMA's decision to stop London Silver Market fixing will bring in a lot of hurdles for silver importers in India. Across the world, LBMA prices have always been considered as benchmark prices. The biggest issue will be that there won’t be any benchmark price to look upon. Transparent fair prices will be required for the market to sustain and LBMA will have to choose other alternatives for fixing Silver market prices.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Gold Gains Momentum, Investors Gain Confidence!

- By Mr. Prithviraj Kothari, MD, RSBL

While gold gained momentum, investors gained confidence in gold. Gold spurred the longest price rally in six months. Initially gold was on low, but prices got pushed higher by the end of the week.

On Monday, gold fell to nearly a three week low as we witnessed outflows from the worlds biggest bullion backed Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). Moreover, a lack of a further increase in geopolitical tension also prompted selling in gold. Last week, the fund's outflows totalled 9.3 tonnes, erasing all the gains made in the year.  

Gold fell to its lowest since mid-February on Tuesday after U.S. housing data beat expectations, boosting confidence in the U.S. economic recovery and lifting stock markets, which hurt gold's appeal as an alternative investment. 

On Wednesday, gold had firmed its position above a two and a half month low of $1,268.24 due to firmer equities and a weaker technical picture that had triggered strong selling,

However, the tables turned on Thursday as rising geopolitical tensions and options related buying helped gold in moving in the opposite direction and reverse the early sharp losses

Bullion prices mounted after Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow rebels as they closed in on the separatists' military stronghold in the east. 

In March, bullion Prices reached a 6 month high after Russia took over Crimea. But then it fell almost 9 percent on signs that peace would return. But once again Hostilities this week are bringing back the gold bulls. Tensions between Moscow and Western powers over Ukraine are lending gold support, but it remains in a somewhat fragile situation as interest from long-term investors is still absent.

Though on the basis of the economic indicators of the US economy, there were signs of recovery, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine spurred traders to unwind bets on a drop. The metal has risen 8.2 percent in 2014 even though economic recovery has pushed the Federal Reserve to reduce its monetary easing. This tapering was responsible behind the 28 per cent drop in gold in 2013 because if the Fed would scale back its bond purchase then gold would lose its appeal of being an inflation hedge tool.

Apart from the Ukraine crisis, another big news that made rounds in the market was that major international banks were jettisoning their commodities business.*

Around 20 US based investors have filed antitrust claims against major leading banks over the past two months.  These investors have accused Barclay, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Bank of Nova Scotia and Societe Generale of colluding to manipulate the gold price.

The court cases are complicating negotiations that Deutsche Bank had started with potential buyers after it announced in January that it was putting its seat at the fix up for sale, a source with knowledge of the matter said. In case any such decision is taking of discontinuing the commodity trading wings business then this will definitely calm down the price volatility of bullion prices.

Another fact the will play a major role in determining the gold prices is the worldwide demand from gold. CHINA- Chinese demand for gold is set to increase from the current level of 1,132 tonnes a year to 1,350 by 2017, cementing its place as the world’s largest gold market. According to report published by the World Gold Council, entitled:  ‘China’s gold market: progress and prospects’, private demand for gold in China will see sustained growth over the next four years.

China does not report any trade numbers. The only source of procuring these gold export numbers to China is through Hong Kong as its the prime medium of gold for China. But now that China has allowed Gold imports via Beijing, it may threaten Hong Kong’s export numbers to mainland.

INDIA- Physical demand in India over the next week is expected to rise as the country welcomes the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya on may 2. This could result in a slight pickup in gold demand , but with the heavy tariffs placed on gold, there are questions on how much buying will actually occur.

UK- Demand for gold from UK is tend to augment as investors are saving up for retirement with the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority considering adding bullion to its list of “standard assets. Last year, the FCA was replaced by The Financial Services Authority to oversee market regulation. They published a consultation paper with the list in 2012, asking whether other types of investment should be added. Various forms like Cash, bonds and exchange-traded commodities were included but  physical gold was not. There are expectations that gold may be added to the list by June. If any such possibility materializes then demand for gold from UK will definitely rise as gold is on the radar of more mainstream investors. 

Next week is full of revelation for gold as the market moving and price deterring event will unwrap for gold. With a Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting and April non-farm payrolls data set for release; additionally, any change in the standoff between Russia and Ukraine has the ability to move markets.

Moreover, The Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday, and economists said they expect the Fed to announce another $10 billion-a-month cut in its quantitative easing program, and on Friday the Labor Department is scheduled to release its April non-farm payrolls data.

Gold traders will have to be nimble next week as these headline-making events could cause volatile market action. Because of the uncertainty over the Ukraine situation, several gold-market players believe that gold prices will once again move upwards.


- Previous blog - "Gold Prices Off Route"