Post offices to sell gold coins
By Vaibhav Aggarwal
Oct 20, 2008
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India Post, country's postal services will now start selling 24-carat gold coins across 100 post offices in four states - Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. The sale will be further carried to 155,000 post offices across the country, depending on the response of consumers.

A. Raja, Union Minister of IT and Telecom, said: "We have initiated the process to commercialize the post offices and increase their visibility. The proposal is to cover 102 post offices in the pilot phase and gradually extend it based on the response from the public for this novel venture. During Phase-II of the project, Post Offices will be selling gold coins with the India Post logo."

This pioneering venture has been launched by India Post on October 15th in association with World Gold Council and Reliance Money. World Gold Council will market the Swiss Medallions supplied by Reliance Money to Indian consumers through post offices in a convenient and cost effective manner.

The gold coins will be available in weights of 0.5 gram, 1 gram, 5 grams and 8 grams at the prevailing market rates for gold. These coins will be packed in a sealed cover with the certification from Valcambi, Switzerland. The international reorganization of certificate will ensure low risk of duplication, quality packaging, product standardization, numbering and assayer certificate.

Reliance Money Director and Chief Executive Office Sudip Bandyopadhyay said, "We want to take the culture of structured investments in gold to the masses through India Post because it has the largest reach in the country."

Managing Director of World Gold Council, Ajay Mitra said: "Retailing gold through post offices is a ground-breaking initiative in the Indian investment sector and one of its kind in the world."

India's gold sales through coins account for 10% of total sales of gold. Above, the sales through organized retailing are only 3 to 4%.

Today gold has emerged as a preferred asset over other asset classes that are witnessing value erosion.

A gold expert said, "In the long term, considering the demand supply economics, gold is only expected to go up, as there are no new gold mines coming up and so the supply remains constrained."

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