How Does an SGB Compare With Physical Gold?

Individuals have direct access to a wide range of investing possibilities in the modern world. Every investment opportunity, from stocks and bonds to real estate and commodities, has a different mix of advantages and disadvantages. Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs) are one such investment option that has grown in popularity in recent years. The Indian government is the issuer of these bonds, which are supported by physical gold. So, let's find out the SGB vs physical gold or sovereign gold bond vs physical gold in detail.

What is Physical Gold Investment?

When it comes to tangible investments, gold is the most popular option. It is available for purchase as gold bars, coins, jewelry, and biscuits. Unlike the purchase of digital gold, the acquisition of real gold is typically handled with extreme confidentiality.

Any jeweler will sell the yellow metal directly to you. Hence, there is no counterparty risk, and no broker or middleman is engaged. This means buying actual gold has no restrictions. However, the minimum investment for physical gold is slightly larger because gold biscuits require a minimum of 10 grams. Keeping tangible records of every gold purchase you make is always advised. It will assist them in paying their income taxes.

Advantages And Disadvantages of Physical Gold Investment

Advantages of Physical Gold Investment

  1. Tangible Asset: Investing in actual gold has several benefits, and one of them is tangibility. Physical gold enables investors to have a tangible asset in their hands as opposed to ethereal securities like stocks or bonds. There is a sense of security and ownership because of its tactile aspect.
  2. Safe Haven Asset: Gold has traditionally been seen as a safe haven asset that will either hold its value or rise in volatile markets or uncertain economic times. Gold is a famous choice among investors as a hedge against inflation and unstable geopolitics.
  3. Risk diversification: It is an investment portfolio that can be achieved by including physical gold. Gold's value may not fluctuate in lockstep with conventional investments because it generally has a poor correlation with varied other asset classes, like stocks and bonds. Having a diversified portfolio can help lower overall volatility
  4. Liquidity: Physical gold is very liquid, which makes it simple to buy or sell in a variety of forms, including coins, bars, and bullion. Because of this liquidity, investors have the flexibility and access to money they need to turn their gold holdings into cash when needed swiftly.

Disadvantages of Physical Gold

  1. Costs associated with storage and insurance: Physical gold needs to be stored and insured, in contrast to equities or bonds, which can be held electronically. Extra expenses may be involved with properly storing gold, such as buying or renting a safe deposit box. Valuable gold assets might also increase the total cost if they are insured.
  2. Little-scale Illiquidity: Although gold is widely seen as a liquid asset, selling small amounts of actual gold could be less effective. Smaller transactions may result in greater dealer premiums or fees, which lowers the total return on investment.
  3. No Income Generation: Physical gold does not provide income, in contrast to equities that pay dividends or bonds that carry interest. The only source of return for investors is capital appreciation, which may not be as high as it could be for long-term income-producing assets.

What is SGB?

The Reserve Bank of India acts on behalf of the Government of India and issues Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs), which are government securities with a gold value expressed in grams. It is a better investment option than physical gold, which is available in multiples of grams. Moreover, the smallest investment is one gram, while the maximum subscription amount is four kilograms for individuals and HUFs and twenty kilograms for trusts, colleges, and charitable organizations.

The bond has an eight-year term with a five-year exit option. Furthermore, it offers 2.5% fixed interest on the initial investment. Loans may be made against Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs), and the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio will be the same as for any other gold loan, as required from time to time by the Reserve Bank. The KYC procedures will be the same as when buying real gold. SGBs are available for purchase through approved stock exchanges, specified post offices, and scheduled commercial banks.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SGB

Advantages of SGB

Disadvantages of SGB

The Bottom Line

There are benefits and drawbacks to both physical gold vs SGB. Although physical gold is widely accepted and has a high level of liquidity, there are issues with quality, storage, and theft. Though they have a lock-in period and might have less liquidity than physical gold, SGBs are thought to be more affordable, provide a fixed interest rate, and ease worries related to actual gold.

Liquidity, storage, and investment goals are thus important considerations when choosing between the two. The decision should be based on personal investing goals and preferences, as each alternative has advantages and disadvantages of its own.

  1. Safety and Security: SGBs are a safe and secure investment option because the Indian government issues them. Moreover, investing in gold carries less risk because investors may rely on the government's support.
  2. Capital Appreciation: SGBs provide the opportunity to benefit from rising gold prices and potential capital appreciation. Investors can realize financial gains as the value of their investment rises in tandem with the value of gold over time.
  3. Interest Income: SGBs offer investors the added benefit of generating fixed interest income, in contrast to real gold or gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In addition to possible capital gains, investors purchasing SGBs from the government receive a fixed rate of interest.
  4. Tax Benefits: The tax benefits that SGB investments provide are one of the main advantages of doing so. SGBs are a tax-efficient investment option because the interest received on them is not subject to income tax.
  5. Liquidity: Stock exchange trading of SGBs provides investors with liquidity. SGBs are easily purchased or sold on the secondary market, giving them flexibility and convenience in managing their investment.
    1. Lock-in Period: Five years is the lock-in term for SGBs, during which time investors are unable to withdraw their money. This lack of liquidity is a drawback for investors who might need to access their money quickly.
    2. Market Volatility: SGB values are correlated with gold prices, which are prone to market volatility. Investors may suffer losses if the price of gold drops since a declining investment may also have a declining value.
    3. Restricted Availability: The government issues SGBs in finite amounts, so there may be a limit to the bonds' availability. Due to the government's issuance timetable, investors might not always have the chance to purchase SGBs when they would like to.

Frequently Asked Questions Expand All

Yes, SGBs are considered a safe investment as the government backs them. However, as with any investment, there is always a level of risk involved.

No, you cannot directly convert physical gold into SGBs. You have to sell your physical gold and use the proceeds to purchase SGBs.

Yes, investors have the option to receive physical delivery of gold at maturity instead of cash.

The value of your SGB will decrease accordingly as it is linked to the market value of gold.