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Gold and silver regain glitter

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Gold and silver have managed to regain popularity as financial assets. Interest in shares and debentures, however, appears to be waning, per National Accounts Statistics, 2021, compiled by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Data show savings in the form of gold and silver ornaments rose to over ₹43,130 crore at the end of FY20 from ₹42,760 crore in FY19. However, the amount is still far from the high of ₹46,670 crore achieved in FY18. Meanwhile, investment in shares and debentures fell to touch ₹77,420 crore in FY20 against ₹78,970 crore in FY19; they were at ₹1.77-lakh crore in FY18, the highest in the nine-year period. All these values are based on current prices.

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Dhirendra Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of Value Research, said most Indians are risk-averse, which is probably why they prefer gold and silver. But that too has its own risks. “As soon as you come out of a jewellery shop after buying gold or silver ornaments, the value dips up to 15 per cent instantly,” he said. The interest in physical assets is on the rise despite government incentivising investment in paper gold (sovereign gold bond) and imposing higher import duty.

On investment in shares and debentures, Divakar Vijayasarathy, Founder & Managing Partner, DVS Advisors LLP, said the share of these instruments in household savings has traditionally been lower, except for a couple of years when it rose significantly. It was when banks were flooded with cash in FY17 and FY18 as a result of demonetisation that other investment forms were considered.

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Data show small savings continue to rise since FY16 when assets created were ₹53,730 crore, which at the end of FY-20 grew to over ₹2.68-lakh crore. Kumar said despite interest rates falling, people preferred small savings as it was a safe option.


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