Gold and silver prices have appreciated significantly since the beginning of the current calendar year, even as stock markets have declined. Gold has appreciated 17.36 percent and silver prices have gone up even higher by 21.17 percent, while the S&P BSE Sensex has declined 1.06 percent.

The comparison is based on the closing prices of gold and silver, and closing value of Sensex as on Dec. 31, 2015, and the corresponding prices/values on Friday, April 22. 

Gold prices have gone up from Rs. 25,390 per 10 gms on Dec. 31, 2015, to Rs. 29,800 on April 22, while silver hardened by Rs. 7,050 per kg to Rs. 40,350 on Friday, from a low of Rs. 33,300 on Dec. 31, 2015.

During the period, the 30-scrip benchmark index declined to 25,838 from 26,117 on Dec. 31, 2015.

The period saw significant developments for the bullion sector. The re-introduction of the 1 percent excise levy after four years saw jewellers going on a 19-day protest demanding its withdrawal.

The strike was called off on March 19 after the Indian government assured jewellers that the excise department officials would not harass them, though the government did not budge to the demand for removal of the duty. 

The strike led to a sharp fall of 80 percent in gold imports to $972.96 million (YoY) during March, after a 29.49 percent decline in the previous month of hopes of a reduction in import duty (10 percent) that did not come through. Gold imports had gone up 85 percent in January.

Gold prices are expected to touch $1,300 per ounce in the international market by the end of this year, having rallied by almost 16 percent in the first three months this year, financial news website MarketWatch reported, citing a revision in prices by analysts at RBC Capital Markets.

"RBC raised its forecast for the yellow metal by 13% to $1,300 an ounce from a previous forecast of $1,150 an ounce by the fourth quarter 2016. It has raised its average price forecast for the metal in 2016 by 9%," it said