U.S. Markets close in 1 hr 49 mins

India’s rising real interest rate and gold

Annie Gilroy

What today's gold investors need to know about tomorrow (Part 15 of 17)

(Continued from Part 14)

India’s rising real interest rate

Tracking China’s and India’s inflation figures can give you insight into the future direction of gold prices. The figures also suggest what could happen with gold-backed ETFs such as the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD).

With this insight, you can decide what to do with gold stocks such as Goldcorp (GG), Barrick Gold (ABX), Newmont Mining (NEM), Kinross Gold (KGC), and Yamana Gold (AUY), as well as ETFs such as the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX). GG, ABX, NEM, KGC, and AUY respectively make up 10.7%, 8.1%, 6.9%, 10%, and 3.4% of GDX holdings.

Tracking real interest rates

Let’s use the ten-year government bond yield as the nominal interest rate in India and the year-over-year change in the consumer price index, or CPI, as India’s inflation.

CPI data are released by the India Central Statistical Organization monthly. These data measure the average change in the general price for a basket of consumer goods and services over time.

Low inflation

According to the latest data, India’s inflation in December was 5% year-over-year compared to 4.4% year-over-year in November. Growth in the CPI has averaged 8% since 2005. Consumer price inflation was higher than benchmark interest rates and government bond yields for a long time. This caused negative real interest rates, which discouraged savers. Approximately 70% of overall savings moved from financial assets to physical assets such as gold and real estate. But now, things are changing. Inflation fell rapidly in 2014.

Rising real interest rate

In India, the yield on a ten-year government bond is currently 7.9%. Adjusted for 5% inflation, the real return comes in at 2.9%. India’s real interest rate has moved up rapidly in the last few months due to declining inflation. While the rate of interest is lower than November when it was 3.7%, on average, real rates are inching up on lower inflation.

Gold still popular among the rural population

Increasing real interest rates could motivate some urban gold investors to move to other investments. But the majority of India’s population is rural. They don’t have easy access to banks and other investment options. Gold is an easy and available investment option for them. To an extent, it maintains their purchasing power. This makes gold one of the most popular investments.

Continue to Part 16

Browse this series on Market Realist: