Rising gold prices have led to an 85 per cent drop in jewellery sales in Mumbai.
On Tuesday, gold prices hit a record high of Rs 12,950 per 10 gm before settling at Rs 12,900. Jewellers said business had been badly hit since gold prices began their upward climb three months ago.
“Earlier, we would have at least 13 customers in the shop during peak hours. Now, for most of the time, we don’t have a single buyer,” said Kumar Jain, vice-president of the Jewellers’ Association and owner of Umedmal Tilokchand Zaveri at Dageena Bazaar in Mumbadevi.
Kumar said shops would normally shut at 8 pm and the staff would calculate total sales and count the money till 9 pm. “Now, we are out of the shop within five minutes of downing the shutter,” he added.
Most people who need jewellery because of a marriage or other functions at home, Kumar said, are opting to exchange old ornaments instead of buying new ones.
Even buyers of old gold have been affected. “Business has dropped to 40 per cent of the peak,” said Dhiraj Jain of Chenaji Narsingji, one of the biggest buyers of old gold at Mumbadevi. Dhiraj said that when gold touched Rs 9,000 per 10 gm, people sold their holdings to cash in. “They kept selling till it reached Rs 10,500 per 10 gm,” Dhiraj said. After that, people stopped, thinking it would soar even further.