Tuesday, January 24, 2012

India to Pay For Iranian Oil with Gold

I've just seen a report on Russia Today saying that following sanctions from the US and Europe on financial transactions with Iran, India and Iran had found a compromise and India would now buy Iranian Oil with Gold.

Would that have any significant effect on the Gold market? Let's see the numbers. Russia Today's reporter said that Indian imported 12 billions USD of Iranian oil per year. Gold is now about 1670 USD per ounce. So That would be around 1.2 millions ounces of Gold or 200 metric tonnes of Gold per year. That's a massive amount considering India had 557.7 tonnes of Gold reserves in 2010 (source: Wikipedia). I assume India will not want to see their reserve go down, so they'd have to buy those 200 tonnes on the Gold market. By the way, 200 tonnes would just be the amount purchased by India from the IMF in 2009 (when gold was around 1100 USD). Another way to look at this numbers is to compare it to the SPDR Gold Trust Holdings - the largest manager of Gold-based ETF - that stood at 1,239 tonnes in May 2011. So if India and Iran actually implement this scheme for one or more years, this would be extremely disruptive on the Gold market both by the amount of required physical Gold and the geopolitical implications of such move.

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