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The biggest gold story no one is talking about

Talking Numbers

The Indian rupee has fallen 18% in the past few months and that may have an effect on gold prices. Here's why.

It’s one of the world’s biggest stories right now and it could dramatically affect the price of gold. But, Americans have heard only a little about it.

The decline in India’s currency, the rupee, is nothing short of stunning. Currently at record lows, the rupee has dropped nearly 18% since May. It now takes 63.25 Indian rupees to buy one US dollar.

(Read: For Indians living abroad, rupee's plunge is great news)

Causing the plunge is – who else? – Ben Bernanke. Here’s why:

Back on May 22, the Federal Reserve Bank Chairman spoke before the US Congress and hinted that the Fed could start tapering its $85 billion per month bond buying program. That policy, known as “quantitative easing”, helped keep bond prices up and, thus, interest rates down to near-record lows.

Though the program still continues, the markets have been worried all summer that it soon won’t have a giant buyer paying up for bonds. In response, bondholders have been selling their bond positions. Lower bond prices mean higher yields on the bonds. Since the start of May, yields on the US Treasury’s 10-year note have gone from 1.63% to 2.82%.

That jump may not seem like much but if something is giving you 75% more return than it used to just a few months ago, you’d at least give it a second look. And, that’s what’s happening worldwide. Global investors are finding US assets a little more attractive than before and they’re selling other currencies to buy dollars so they can get in on those assets.

India wasn’t the only Asian country particularly hard-hit by higher US interest rates. Another was Japan. Since May, the yen is down 23%. But while Japan’s $6 trillion economy dwarves India’s $1.8 trillion, India has a special distinction in one market: India is the world’s largest buyer of gold. And, fear of further weakening in the rupee has made gold a safe haven for some in India.

(Read: First India, then Indonesia... who is next?)

According to statistics published by the World Gold Council, India demanded 1,048.5 tons of gold over the last twelve months. That represents 28.7% of the world’s demand of 3,649.7 tons and a 29% increase in total tons demanded by India compared to the previous twelve months.

Indian consumers are increasingly turning to gold to hedge their devaluing currency. That has the Reserve Bank of India nervous about capital leaving the country and it led the country to curb imports. Last week, the country raised import duties to 10% on gold and banned the importing of gold coins and medallions.

(Read: India's efforts to curb gold imports)

So, with this as a backdrop, what does it all mean for gold?

We ask Talking Numbers contributor Enis Taner, Global Macro Editor at RiskReversal.com, to look at the fundamentals of gold. Fellow contributor Richard Ross, Global Technical Strategist at Auerbach Grayson, looks at a chart of gold as priced in Indian rupees to show what the technicals are saying about the future of both.

To see Taner and Ross analyze gold, watch the video above.

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