3 Kerala loan cos hold 47% of India’s total gold
KOCHI: The gold holdings of the three largest gold loan companies in Kerala have grown from 195 tonnes two years ago to nearly 263 tonnes towards the end of September 2016. Between them, they have more precious metal in their vaults than the gold reserves of some of the richest nations.
Muthoot Finance, Manappuram Finance and Muthoot Fincorp jointly hold nearly 263 tonnes of gold jewellery, which is higher than the gold reserves of Belgium, Singapore, Sweden or Australia.
India accounts for approximately 30% of the global demand for gold, a true and tested source of insurance for millions of families that have little access to other forms of social security. What is true for India is even more so for Kerala, where two lakh people are employed in the gold industry. The metal’s fungibility makes it ideal collateral for over-the-counter loans.
Over the last two years, the gold holdings of Muthoot Finance, the largest of Kerala’s gold loan companies, grew from 116 tonnes to 150 tonnes. It now holds more yellow metal in its vaults than the reserves of Singapore (127.4 tonnes), Sweden (125.7 tonnes), Australia (79.9 tonnes), Kuwait (79 tonnes), Denmark (66.5 tonnes) and Finland (49.1 tonnes). There are other two big players — Manappuram Finance with 65.9 tonnes and Muthoot Fincorp with 46.88 tonnes. The combined holdings of the three are 262.78 tonnes.
India, according to World Gold Council, has the 11th largest gold reserves at 558 tonnes. The US heads the pack with 8,134 tonnes, while Germany and IMF come next (3,378 and 2,814 tonnes, respectively).
According to GFMS Gold Survey, India tops the list of countries consuming gold jewellery, with a consumption of 107.6 tonnes during Q3 of calendar year 2016. Compared to this, Europe and North America together consumed only 67.1 tonnes in the same period. China, the second-largest gold jewellery buyer in the world, consumed 98.1 tonnes over the same period.