The Indian bullion market will not witness the buying fervour as seen every year on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya on Sunday, April 26 this year due to a nationwide lockdown in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic. However, the trade bodies said that jewellers will to take the digital route to explore the possibility of selling.

Meanwhile, the recent order of the Centre may give the Indian bullion market an opportunity to trade if the state governments allow the opening of shops, said Surendra Mehta, National Secretary, India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA).

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A sales person shows a gold ring to customers at a jewellery showroom during Dhanteras, a Hindu festival associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in Ahmedabad, India, October 28, 2016.Reuters file

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Gold prices are ruling near an all-time high in the domestic market while the yellow metal rallied to over a seven-year high in the global market amid the coronavirus crisis.

Mehta said this is good news for the Indian bullion market that ahead of the auspicious occasion of Akshay Tritiya, the government has offered some relaxations to open the shops in non-containment zones.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday allowed the opening of shops as part of the easing of lockdown restrictions announced on April 15 with neighbourhood shops and others being allowed within the city and all shops except those in malls allowed outside the municipal limits with 50 per cent strength of workers. But such relaxations in any particular area would be decided by the respective state governments.

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Government has clarified that there would no taxation on gold jewellery bought from disclosed income.Reuters file

"We have asked all the jewellers to get in touch with the buyers though the digital route and if they are interested, they can purchase online and get physical delivery of items when the lockdown ends," said Mehta.

Usually, the wedding season starts with Akshaya Tritiya in the country, but people are postponing or cancelling wedding schedules as social gathering is not allowed due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Hence, the bullion markets may witness little fervour even among the online buyers. Shantibhai Patel, President, Gem & Jewellery Trade Council of India (GJTCI), said that online demand for bullion is very low as Indians prefer to buy gold as per their choice.

"Also, wedding celebrations and public gatherings are not going to take place now, so the demand for jewelleries is very little, said Patel.

Patel said on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, the bullion markets of south India attract more buyers, and if jewellery shops open on this day, good footfalls of buyers will be seen. However, jewellers didn't get time to plan attractive offers for the buyers this time.

Mehta expects around 10-15 per cent buying of gold this year as compared to last year through the digital route and physical buying if 35 per cent of the jewellery shops open across India on Sunday after the relaxations.

2 tonnes of buying this Akshaya Tritiya

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A woman touches a gold necklace at a jewellery store during Karva Chauth festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad October 17, 2008 (representational image).Reuters file

According to him, around 23 tonnes of gold was sold in the Indian bullion market last year on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya and he expects around 2 tonnes of buying this year. "If you are someone who is planning to buy gold amidst the lockdown this Akshaya Tritiya, digital is the only way to go as physical gold shops are closed for business," said Ajay Kedia, Director, Kedia Advisory.

According to IBJA rates, 999 purity of gold was at Rs 46,607 per 10 gram (without GST) in the Indian bullion market on Friday. Silver was at Rs 42,030 per kg, according to IBJA.

At the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), June contract of gold ended Rs 163 up at Rs 46,590 per 10 gram on Friday, while the precious metal hit all-time high of Rs 47,327 on April 16, 2020. At Comex, June contract of gold held nearly flat at $1,745.65 per ounce, while the yellow metal rose to $1,788.80 per ounce on April 14, 2020.