In 2011, India’s gold importation accounted for a full fifth of global annual supply. That’s more than any other country and as much as Switzerland holds in its central bank vaults. So why does the country have such an infatuation with the metal?
Part of it is tradition—CBS News explains that “Just as part of the American dream is to own a home, the dream in India is to own gold.” It’s an integral part of weddings and ceremonies, and Indians perceive gold to be as much of a sign of wealth as it is a fashionable accessory.
Another contributing factor is more of a practical one. In a recent piece in Business Insider, The Economist reported that “Opening a bank account in India is bureaucratic hell. Gold, on the other hand, is widely accepted without any documentation. It is also a fine way to store wealth without paying tax—along with property, it is the asset class that the authorities struggle to track.”
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