CRISIL Launches Gold Index

CRISIL Research, India’s largest independent and integrated research house, today announced the launch of the CRISIL Gold Index. The index will track the performance of gold prices in the domestic market. The objective of CRISIL Gold index is to provide an independent and relevant benchmark for performance evaluation of investment products with gold as underlying investment. This is the first index introduced by CRISIL in the commodities space and the ninth ovever the past two years.

Since the global credit crisis of 2008, gold has been consistently outperforming the equity market and eliciting enhanced investor interest. Between August 2008 and July 2011, gold has given an annualized return of 22.91% compared to 9.3% by S&P CNX Nifty. According to Mukesh Agarwal, Senior Director – CRISIL Research, “Gold is considered to be one of the safest havens for investments. Typically, during uncertain times, gold acts as an effective hedge.” The strong performance by gold has also coincided with the introduction of Gold Exchange Traded Funds (Gold ETFs) and Gold Fund of Funds (Gold FoFs) in India. The objective of these funds is to provide returns that closely correspond to the returns delivered by gold as an asset class. While the first Gold ETF in the country was launched in March 2007, the product has gained momentum only over the past two years.

The average assets under management (AUM) under this category have grown exponentially from Rs. 0.96 billion in March 2007 to Rs. 60 billion as on June 2011. Currently 11 asset management companies offer 11 Gold ETFs and three Gold FoFs in India. “When compared with holding physical gold, gold ETFs provide investors with various benefits like affordability, guaranteed purity, high liquidity, transparent pricing and low holding cost. These benefits along with the tax advantage make gold ETFs a more efficient way of owning gold,” added Mr. Agarwal. Globally, AUM of Gold ETFs has grown over USD 100 bn as on June 2011 as against USD 14 bn in April 2007.