The next three years will see the price of gold undergoing a fall, predicted Joy Alukkas, chairman of the eponymous chain of jewellery stores. However, government policy will ensure Indian consumers will have little to cheer about, he said.

“Going by the trend and international dynamics, gold will see a downward trend. But it will not make any difference to Indian consumers as government tightening through VAT, etc., are likely to continue,” he said.

The yellow metal will likely touch the $1,100 per ounce mark (Rs. 68,900 for 28.35 grams), while the current prices hover around $1,220 in the international market, Mr. Alukkas said.

Gold smuggling

Owing to the government regulations and taxes on import of gold, there was a lot of smuggling activity taking place, he said, adding that the industry had lost 30-40 per cent business due to import curbs.

On the group’s diversification plans, Mr. Alukkas said the company was investing Rs. 400 crore on four wedding malls in Kerala.

“Our first mall will be inaugurated in Thrissur on April 5. The remaining three will come up in Kochi, Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram in the coming two years,” he said. The malls will market all the home brands of JoyAlukkas in jewellery, footware, garments, watches and cosmetics etc, he said.

The company expects about Rs.10,000 crore in revenue from its businesses in Dubai and India, of which Indian market is likely to contribute to Rs. 4,700 crore in the current fiscal.

Over 60 per cent of JoyAlukkas’ gold business is driven by recycled gold procured from customers. The rest is bought from different banks. The company plans to import gold once the government eases norms, he said.

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