On 1st July, India’s labyrinth of taxes will be replaced with a simple, nationwide Goods & Services Tax (GST). This is the biggest fiscal reform since India’s liberalisation in the early 1990s. While gold consumers will face a slightly higher tax rate, and the industry will go through a period of adjustment, we see the net impact on the gold industry as being positive. The gold supply chain should become more transparent and efficient, and the tax reform can boost economic growth, which we see as supporting gold demand.
A barrage of policy initiatives aimed at purging India of black money and instilling greater transparency rocked India’s economy last year, including its gold market. The most dramatic was the radical decision to demonetise over 15 trillion rupees, around US$220bn.
In 2015 India was the world’s fast growing economy; in recent years millions have been lifted out of poverty and India’s middle class has swelled. This is important because our econometric analysis indicates income growth drives gold demand.
Gold coins are intrinsic to gold demand, not just in India, but across the world. In most countries that have an affinity with gold however, that relationship is symbolised by a sovereign gold coin.
India has an ambivalent relationship with gold. For consumers, gold is a prized asset, cherished as both an adornment and an investment. For the government, gold is a major contributor to the current account deficit, a challenge that needs to be addressed.
This report looks at the future of the gold market in India. It puts in context the market for gold, and examines the strategic outlook for the Indian economy and gold demand over the next decade. There is short discourse on the mythological and cultural significance of gold in India as well as detailed econometric analysis of Indian gold demand from 1980 to 2009.