Gold News

Gold Season: Summer Doldrums?

The seasonal turns in Gold are being overtaken by macro-economic & monetary events...

IN THE PAST the Gold Market has been seasonal, writes Julian Phillips of the, with the rule being "Sell in May and go away".

   This summer season – marking a lull in demand – usually lasted until the middle-to-end of August, with the main demand for physical Gold Bullion appearing in the final quarter of the year. That then drove Gold Prices higher, lasting until the end of May once again.

   Will Gold go through the same seasons this year? Is seasonal demand going to impact the Gold Market? Bear in mind that a big fall has happened already in April.

Seasonal Gold: Indian Demand

   The heaviest influence on this seasonal pattern of Gold Prices has been jewelry demand from India, where as much as 850 tonnes of gold per annum was imported in previous years. This demand from Indian jewelry buyers was, in turn, driven by the weather.

   In the past, 70% of India's gold demand came from the agricultural sector, all of which is dependent on the weather and seasons. And after May, crops have to be planted ready for the coming monsoon rains, bringing the crops to fruition in the early-to-middle parts of August.

   In India, Gold means far more than just jewelry for adornment, however. It has religious connotations as well as financial importance. Gold makes an auspicious investment during the Hindu festival season, for example – most especially the Diwali festival in October.

   What's more, in a country where respect for the civil service, appliers of the law and the tax authorities is extremely low, the attraction of changing your tax-free agricultural profits into Gold and property – and then slipping under the tax radar – is often irresistible.

   Another key feature of gold's seasonal demand in India – where family remains the heart of society – is the bridal dowry. Wives don't own assets, but they can own cash, and this gift from the bride's parents is to ensure that the new couple start their married life with financial security.

   This powerful tradition makes the "marriage season", which comes to an end in May, one of the important factors in the pattern of demand for gold. The climax of this demand also comes together with the Akshaya Thrithiya festival – marked on 7th May in 2008.

   It is auspicious to marry in this season, again tying gold together with religious faith.

Gold Season: the "Doldrums"

   In the Western world, the gold jewelry season also becomes becalmed mid-year, as the Christmas and New Year present-giving festivals are furthest away.

   The Gold Market then faces a global situation akin to the "Doldrums" – a feature of the Atlantic trade winds between South America and Africa, where the wind suddenly drops and leaves sailing ships stuck, waiting for the trade to winds pick up again. But a glance at the last few years shows a distinct break in that pattern.

   Take a look at the chart just for the last couple of years, which serves for the purpose of illustrating our point.

   Right in the middle of the end-May to early-Sept. period during 2006, you can see the Gold Price suddenly begin to take off from $542 to the mid-600s, starting from early June to mid-August and actually drifting until mid-October.

   In 2007 the doldrums returned and Gold was uninteresting again until the outbreak of the sub-prime crisis – but was the surge in Indian demand seen during the Akshaya Thrithiya festival last year then failed to hold as these other events began dictating the Gold Price.

   The seasonality of gold, in short, is being slowly overtaken by macro-economic and monetary events that dictate the Gold Price today. For the full report, please visit

JULIAN PHILLIPS – one half of the highly respected team at – began his career in the financial markets back in 1970, when he left the British Army after serving as an Officer in the Light Infantry in Malaya, Mauritius, and Belfast.

First he worked in Timber Management and then joined the London Stock Exchange, qualifying as a member and specializing from the beginning in currencies, gold and the "Dollar Premium". On moving to South Africa, Julian was appointed a macro-economist for the Electricity Supply Commission – guiding currency decisions on the multi-billion foreign Loan Portfolio – before joining Chase Manhattan and the UK Merchant Bank, Hill Samuel, in Johannesburg.

There he specialized in gold, before moving to Capetown, where he established the Fund Management department of the Board of Executors. Julian returned to the "Gold World" over two years ago, contributing his exceptional experience and insights to Global Watch: The Gold Forecaster.

Legal Notice/Disclaimer: This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Gold Forecaster/Julian D.W. Phillips have based this document on information obtained from sources they believe to be reliable but which it has not independently verified; they make no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Gold Forecaster/Julian D.W. Phillips only and are subject to change without notice. They assume no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission. Furthermore, they assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information, provided within this report.

See full archive of Julian Phillips.

Please Note: All articles published here are to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it. Please review our Terms & Conditions for accessing Gold News.

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