Akshaya Tritiya will lose its sheen this year due to lockdown

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on April 16, 2020

File photo   -  BusinessLine

It appears, for jewellers the lockdown will not be for 42-day of sales but 57-days

Last year, as much as 36 tonnes of gold valued at ₹17,000 crore were purchased by people on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya, on the belief that it will bring them prosperity. The coronavirus, which has already created havoc in both financially and otherwise, is giving them no such opportunity this year. The auspicious day, which falls on April 26, will see zero sales as all jewellery shops remain closed on account of the lockdown.

“As is customary for the last 15 years, I was planning to buy a gram of gold on Akshaya Tritiya this year. However, I may not be lucky due to lockdown,” said Latha Varadarajan, a housewife in Chennai. She’s not the only one that is disappointed.

“This will be the first time that there will not be any sale on Akshaya Tritiya. This is a big loss for the industry. We see almost 15 days of sale just on that day,” said N Anantha Padmanaban of NAC Jewellers, a leading player.

“If the government does not come out with special help for jewellers, this industry will meet its Waterloo in coming months,” said Padmanaban, who is also the chairman of the All Indian Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council. “The government needs to take care of the karigars (artisans) across the country. They will go without work and leave us,” said a worried Padmanaban.

According to Amarendran Vummidi, Managing Partner, Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers, sale on Akshaya Tritiya would normally be 10-12 times more than a normal day’s sale. But he has come to terms with the present situation. “We are all doing it (lockdown) for the good of the community. Gold is the only asset which is going to see an increase in price. Demand will come.” he added.

Digital gold purchase

Akshaya Tritiya sales remains the second-biggest gold buying occasion after Diwali in India. However, options of buying digital gold (offered by Safe Gold) will be available during Akshaya Tritiya just like they for Gudi Padwa. However, any deliveries would happen only post-lockdown after travel restrictions are lifted, said PR Somasundaram, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council.

“We anticipate this summer season starting with Gudi Padwa and Akshaya Tritiya to be subdued. Things might ease in the late September quarter, and we may see a rebound in the December quarter during Diwali. However, one thing appears imminent: recycling of gold and loans against gold jewellery will jump significantly once the markets open up,” he said.

It appears, for jewellers the lockdown will not be for 42-day (till May 3) of sales but 57-days, considering that Akshaya Tritiya day alone is equivalent to 15 days of sales.

Published on April 16, 2020

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