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Preetesh Ghatke
New to stock market.
Asked a question 16 days ago

Which is better for investment - Gold ETF or Sovereign gold bond (SGB)?

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The difference between Gold ETF and SGB is very similar to Mutual funds and Direct Equity.

Gold ETF is a fund. The scheme invests in Gold and then sells the fund units. The NAV is decided mainly by the gold price and the fund's performance. As usual, like any fund scheme, there are fund management expenses. The Gold ETF NAV will not mimic or move like the Gold Price (there will be a lag) since it is an ETF.

SGB is directly linked to the gold price. There is no management cost, hidden charges, or expenses. SGB is simply mimicking Gold; it is not backed by physical Gold held by RBI or any other bank. Since SGB is directly linked to the gold price, you will see the direct benefits (or losses). Between the two, there is no better or worse. But because SGB is CG Tax-free if held till maturity, it may have better returns. Gold ETFs are always taxed, no matter when you sell. But the advantage of SGB comes at the disadvantage of being locked for years. SGBs can be transferred to Demat Account and traded before maturity.


Siddhartha Kumaran
More curious than the cat!

I will say gold etf is better for one reason only. They are liquid unlike sovereign gold bonds. Despite such high volumes on nse the SGB market is illiquid I think. 

The choice between investing in a Gold ETF or Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) depends on an individual's investment goals, risk tolerance, and financial situation. Factors to consider when choosing between the two:

  • Gold ETFs are more liquid than SGBs as they can be easily bought and sold on stock exchanges, whereas SGBs have a lock-in period of 8 years.
  • Gold ETFs can be bought and sold like any other stock, whereas SGBs require a Demat account and must be held until maturity.
  • SGBs offer a fixed rate of return and are backed by the government, whereas the returns from Gold ETFs are dependent on the performance of the underlying asset, which is gold.
  • SGBs offer tax benefits compared to Gold ETFs, as the interest income from SGBs is tax-free.

So, be wise with your requirements before making any decisions between the two.