Gold and silver may have been getting cheaper but are not up for grabs. Ask those who are heading to Lucknow Chowk's Sarrafa lane to buy the precious metals.
“There is certainly a scarcity. They are going off the shelves fast in many stores which are being kept closed, as they are unable to meet the growing demand. At shops where the metals are available, variety isn’t. The customers seeking to buy gold sets, coins and chains are not getting enough choices in design," said Vinod Maheshwari, general secretary, Chowk Sarrafa Bazar.
The week before, gold hit its lowest price of Rs. 26,450 per 10 gram in three years after touching a high of Rs. 32,050 for 10 grams. This led to a buying frenzy.
While the small retailers with outlets in residential markets are already out of stock, the branded showrooms are trying their best to meet the demand that is only growing each day. "The supply has been doubled and even then it is sold in no time. Gold coins are out of stock as every investor wants to buy them when the prices are low," said the store manager of a leading jewellery brand.
Not just gold, stocks of silver ornaments too have been hit drastically due to the crash in prices. "In silver jewellery, waist chains for babies are hard to find in the wholesale bullion market of Chowk," said Maheshwari. Silver has also nose-dived from above Rs. 70,000 per kg some time back to Rs. 46,000 per kg at present.
Talking about the wholesale market, he said, "The retailers are buying 20-30% more than what they would buy a month ago. But now, they are not bothered about the designs, they just take the jewellery in bulk to meet the demand." In addition to the sales, the trend of booking gold in advance at current rates is also a hit in the bullion market, especially among individual customers.
“There are many who have marriages lined up in November-December but they want to buy gold now at the ‘fallen’ prices. Due to limited stock in designs, many customers are preferring to book their gold on current rates which they would buy once the designs are available in good numbers,” said a trader of Aminabad market.
Dittoing the sentiment Kailash Chand Jain, a leading bullion trader of Chowk Saraffa Market, said the advance purchases were unprecedented and such deals amounted to several lakhs of rupees.
Jugal Kishore, a jeweller of Hazratganj, said “there are such a lot of customers these days that by the time I close my shop it is 1 am.”