Rise In Price Hits Gold Business In Odisha As Customers Opt To Gift Cash In Wedding Season

Bhubaneswar: Gold is gradually going out of reach for the middle-class in India.

Prices vary across the country due to excise duty, state taxes and making charges. In Odisha, the price stood at Rs 46,800 per 10 gram (22 carat) as of December 18. That’s a steep increase compared to last year, when gold was available at Rs 35,000 per 10 gram.

Like the rest of the country, gold jewellery business has obviously taken a hit in Odisha too.

“The reason of rising price of the yellow metal is uncertainty triggered by COVID-19 pandemic, instability in market, low interest rate and a weak dollar. Business had almost come to a standstill, following which the price increased suddenly,” said Kishan Gupta, Director, Lalchand Jewellers.

“We faced massive loss during lockdown… and are yet to recover from that. We are providing gold jewellery to customers at reduced making charge. We don’t want to shift the burden to our customers because they have also suffered a lot during lockdown. Many have lost their jobs, others have seen their savings vanish,” said Gupta.

He pointed out that from around Rs 38,000-39,000 in March, gold price shot up post the coronavirus pandemic.

“Till October 2020, there was a huge impact on sale of gold jewellery in Bhubaneswar. We offered discounts on making charge during Diwali, Dhanteras and Durga Puja. There was some kind of a revival in our business, but it wasn’t anything like in previous years,” Gupta informed.

“We are maintaining social distancing and also sanitizing the shop for the safety of our customers. But people are still wary of visiting shops,” he remarked.

Gupta is hopeful that gold price will decrease once the vaccination process starts. “But it won’t be like before. The corona impact has made a difference of Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000. So price may go down to Rs 48,000 once vaccine is rolled out,” felt Gupta, adding that price of the yellow metal is governed by the international market.

Deepak Kumar Sahoo, owner of Saraswati Alankara shop at Mangalabag area in Cuttack, also lamented the decline in business.

“Selling of gold jewellery has decreased drastically. We are suffering a lot, as gold price is increasing day by day,” he said.

“Even during the wedding season, most people are now preferring to give cash as gift rather than gold jewellery. You can’t get one gram gold jewellery for Rs 5,000 with making charge. So why won’t they give Rs 5,000 in cash,” said Deepak.

A prospective gold jewellery customer echoed Deepak’s view.

“This is the wedding season, and many of my relatives and friends are getting married this year. Some of them are very close to me, so I wanted to give them gold jewellery as gift. But with the increased price, it’s very difficult to buy gold jewellery,” said Somya Priti Jena.

“I had to give cash to some, while I gave jewellery to some others with less quantity of gold,” he explained.

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