Srinagar: Ghulam Nabi Bhat was happy that his daughter is tying the nuptial knot. The family was busy shopping as the big day was drawing near.
Enter Ukraine war, the gold prices went through the roof upsetting Bhat’s budget. “The gold prices have increased enormously. It is becoming unaffordable. We are waiting for the prices to come down,” Bhat said.
Like Bhat, scores of the people have delayed shopping citing the price rise.
Fresh sanctions on Russia have pushed the price of gold in the international market. Russia is the world’s third-largest producer of gold after Australia and China. So, these sanctions by western countries against Russia are expected to stiffen the global supply.
“Just a week before per gram of 22-carat gold was sold at Rs 4300 per tola. Because of the war between Ukraine and Russia, the price has gone up to Rs 4600 per gram. We are not sure whether the rates will come down or go even higher,” said Bashir Ahmad Rather, president of All Kashmir Gold Dealers and Workers Association.
Gold is usually considered as a hedge against inflation. Also, at a time of war when the equity market has become volatile and risky, investors are shifting some of their investments to gold, which is considered a safe bet.
Gold dealers of Kashmir told The Kashmir Monitor that price rise has affected their trade by nearly 90 percent. “We don’t get customers right now. All the gold dealers and workers are sitting idle for more than a week now,” he said.
Jewelers feel that buyers will wait and watch before they start buying gold. “Customers will wait till the gold prices come down. Already the lockdown has affected the purchasing capability of people in general and our trade in particular. We hope there are no more wars so that everyone doesn’t suffer,” he said.
Jewelers said those people who have booked gold in advance will not be impacted. “People who have placed orders in advance will not face any problem. They have already paid a part of the sum as per the previous rates,” said Shakeel Ahmad a jeweler.
In the past, too, conflicts have led to volatility in stock and gold. It had happened during Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Post 9/11 attack, the gold prices too had hit a high.