Gold coins to be sold through post offices

October 15th, 2008 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) India Post, the country’s postal services, will start selling 24-carat gold coins through its post offices, the government announced here Wednesday. The coins will be available in over 100 post offices in Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat in the pilot phase, Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja told reporters here.

“We have initiated the process to commercialise the post offices and increase their visibility,” Raja said.

India Post has initiated the process in association with the World Gold Council and the Anil Ambani-headed financial services firm Reliance Money.

Raja said the coins would come in weights of 0.5 gram, one gram, five grams and eight grams at gold rates prevailing in the market.

He said he has asked the Department of Post to take the gold coins to rural post offices so that the benefit goes to the common man as well.

“The sale will gradually be extended based on public response and during Phase-II of the project, post offices will be selling gold coins with the India Post logo,” he said.

The gold coins will be packed in a sealed cover with certification from the Balerna, Switzerland-based precious metal refiner Valcambi sa.

Apart from the internationally recognised certification, the coins will come with benefits like low risk of duplication, quality packaging, product standardisation, numbering and assayer certificate.

“Due to the global slowdown, gold sale will go up from this Diwali,” said Ajay Mitra, the managing director of the World Gold Council’s India chapter.

Mitra said usually gold consumption during Diwali zooms 30 percent but this year, it will be even more as consumers are scared by the market volatility and in all likelihood would invest in commodities that will appreciate in value.

“We want to take the culture of structured investments in gold to the masses through India Post and provide gold with impeccable quality, quantity and price points,” Reliance Money Director and CEO Sudip Bandyopadhyay said.

He said liquidity was increasing, and that by the end of this week, there would be enough cash flow in the market.

As a result, people would be encouraged to invest in gold, driving its consumption.

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