Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2020-21 (Series VII): Should you buy?

Published: October 10, 2020 at 7:19 am

Last Updated on August 22, 2022

The seventh tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds 2020-21 (Series VII) will be available for sale from October 12-16, 2020. The issue price of the Bond per gram during the subscription period will be Rs. 5041  (down from Rs. 5,117 for series VI and  Rs 5,334 for series V). However,  it is not a product for everyone. A discussion on who should buy and who should not. The schedule for future releases is now available: Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme Issue Dates October 2020 to March 2021


Gold is an extremely volatile asset, in fact, more volatile than stocks from time to time. If you have purchased Sovereign Gold Bonds for returns then your final return will depend on “timing luck” (that is, when you buy)!

Shown below is the Gold USD and Gold INR per troy ounce (31.1 grams) daily data from Jan 1979. Notice how after our economy opened up in the 90s, Gold INR kept moving up only because of the exchange rate. Both Gold prices are better correlated in the two decades.

Normalized Gold USD Gold INR and exchange rate movement
Normalized Gold USD Gold INR and exchange rate movement

Now let us look at the rolling returns. Please pay attention to the “spread” in possible returns for a given duration. The number of data points is indicated in each plot. There are 5992 eight-year data points in each coloured line. Notice that it is simply impossible to say or expect gold would X or Y returns.


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8 year rolling returns of gold USD and gold INR price per troy ounce from Jan 1979
8-year rolling returns of gold USD and gold INR price per troy ounce from Jan 1979

Those who want to chase after returns must employ an entry-exit plan such as this – a tactical buying strategy for gold and use ETFs for small sums and gold funds for larger amounts. This tool can be used: Using moving averages for tactical buy/sell

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2020-21 (Series V): Who should buy?

Sovereign gold bonds offer a tax-free, risk-free way to accumulate gold as long as your future gold purchase is more than eight years away*.  You also get 2.5% interest (taxable as per slab) on the initial gold value as a “thank you for reducing gold imports(temporarily)” gift from the govt.

This is risk-free because the bond tracks the price of 24-carat gold and at any given time and after eight years one could buy 22-carat jewellery. * These bonds cannot be sold in the middle of the tenure unless you are willing to take a loss. So if you want to buy jewels after 10 years, buy Sovereign Gold Bonds 2020-21 for the first eight years and then hold cash or buy the gold asap.

When the ultimate aim is to buy gold, returns from gold bonds or any other instrument are irrelevant. When the aim is diversification, then returns from gold should not be a major concern. Thankfully so because gold is volatile that one simply cannot expect 6%, 8%, comparable to inflation or any other number. The variation in returns is simply too great!

Reference:  Fin MIn Press release

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Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over nine years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation for promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
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