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Silver glitters in India as record prices dull gold's luster
By Swansy Afonso
Friday, October 11, 2019
Silver is outshining gold in India.
Imports of the poor man's gold jumped 72% from a year earlier to 543.21 tons in August, according to the latest available data from India's trade ministry. In contrast, inbound purchases of gold plunged by an equivalent amount to 32.1 tons, the lowest in three years, as record high prices sapped demand in the world's second-biggest consumer of the metal.
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Gold has gained about 18% this year as the U.S.-China trade war hurts global growth and central banks loosen policy. In India, benchmark gold futures in Mumbai rose to record highs last month, while silver futures, though up 18% in 2019, are still almost 40% away from an all-time high in 2011.
The metal, at around 45,900 rupees ($646) a kilogram, is about 80 times cheaper than gold and far more affordable as an investment or the token bullion purchases Hindus consider auspicious in the run-up to the festival of Diwali later this month.
"The price point is so much lower that things are working in the favor of silver," according to Chirag Sheth, a consultant at London-based Metals Focus Ltd. "It is still very, very reasonable to buy silver compared to gold." ...
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