In India’s Bazaars, Old Gold Is the New Black – by Biman Mukherji (Wall Street Journal – September 18, 2016)

With prices sky high, Indians are selling off old jewelry—and it’s taking the shine off gold imports

NEW DELHI—In a centuries-old gold bazaar, Sanjay Malhotra peers through a magnifying lens at a dull gold necklace resting on a small bed of red velvet. Such old possessions are streaming into his shop of late, a tip-off to a significant change afoot in one of the world’s largest gold markets.

Farmers have been cashing in on gold’s soaring price—up about 22% since the start of the year—to buy extra seed in a year that, true to forecasts, delivered unusually bountiful rains. Other rural Indians have piled into gold shops to sell at an unusually fast clip as well.

“There are a lot of people who have been coming to sell their gold these days. People want to cash in on the high prices,” Mr. Malhotra said, noting that customers have been trading items as small as nose pins.

Gold holds a special place in India, which vies with China as the world’s top gold consumer. But with prices sky high, many Indians have decided it is time to sell the family jewels.

So much recycled gold has come into the system in the past few months that it has met 45% to 60% of the local gold demand, said Bachhraj Bamalwa, director of All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation.

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