April's gold imports then showed a 60 percent annual jump, totalling a further 85 tonnes on top of March's 125 inflow.
That's a lot of gold. It nearly equals one in every two ounces of gold mined worldwide over those same two months. And reworked into bracelets and necklaces, that surge of Indian gold imports became a 10-20 percent rise in gold sales on Akshaya Tritiya. Some retailers even reported a 30 percent jump.
Fact is, however, "Sales volumes [in 2015] were higher as Indian prices were lower by 7 percent year on year," reckons All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation director Bachhraj Bamalwa, directly attributing the growth in sales to lower prices. US dollar investors meantime found gold $100 lower per ounce from Akshaya Tritiya 2014. Sterling prices were pretty much flat from 12 months ago.
So, whatever drives the gold price, India's festival demand looks unlikely. Quite the reverse, in fact. By extension, a lack of good times on Hindu calendars is unlikely to pull prices lower. Indeed, the near-shutdown in gold imports to India in mid-2013 – due to an effective ban on new inflows after the record levels seen during the spring 2013 price crash – coincided with the metal finding its floor at last roundabout the $1,180 mark.
China's retail gold demand also takes a break over the summer, as do its wholesalers. But if removing this bid to buy gold the world's heaviest gold-buying market also tracks prices more than setting them, with spring 2015's strong export of metal from London through Swiss refiners onto Asian buyers being "a sign of weakness, not of strength in the market," as Matthew Turner at Macquarie noted to Bloomberg last month.
None of this is to say Asian household demand doesn't help form gold prices. But it clearly doesn't (yet) chase it higher at the tops. Instead, the world's heaviest buyers prefer the dips and plunges created by Western investment selling. Thus the global market found lots of buyers in 2013, albeit very much cheaper than US and European investors would have liked as they quit positions built at $1,500 and above.
So, back with the seasonal data, might the summer lull in gold prices come thanks to the summer doldrums in financial markets more broadly? Perhaps. It is in fact much clearer on the historic data than the City of London's more famous "Sell in May" folklore for UK equities. And again, on the data, it has been growing stronger as well.
You can see it here on this chart of average monthly prices. We've used the median, not the mean, to smooth out the crazier moves of outlier years. And there, right in the middle of the year, you will see a 'seasonal lull' during mid-summer for both the decade from 1995-2004 and then again for 2005-2014.