New Delhi: India’s gold imports may hit an all time high of over 1,000 tonnes in 2015 buoyed by sharp fall in global prices, according to the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation. The world’s second-biggest gold consumer had imported around 900 tonnes in 2014, it said.
“For the first time, we expect gold imports to cross 1,000 tonnes this calendar year. More imports are being undertaken taking advantage of significant fall in global prices,” Federation Director Bachhraj Bamalwa told PTI. Gold prices in the international market have fallen to a five-year low. However, the falling global prices have not reflected in the domestic market due to rupee appreciation against the US dollar, he said.
According to the federation, India has imported 850 tonnes of gold during January-September period of 2015 as against 650 tonnes in the year-ago period. “We expect 150-200 tonnes of imports to take place in the December quarter of this year, as against 300 tonnes in the year-ago period”, Bamalwa said.
Imports in the October-December period this year are likely to be lower compared to the year-ago period because traders imported more during last year fearing further restrictions on gold shipments, he added.
In a latest report, the World Gold Council has said India’s gold demand in fourth (Oct-Dec)quarter would be more muted. “Lingering concerns over the health of the rural Indian economy and local gold prices remaining in close proximity to Rs 27,000 per 10 grams level in recent weeks also give reasons to adopt a prudent outlook for the usual fourth quarter uplift in Indian demand”, it said.
Although the upsurge in demand during July-September period partially compensated for the second quarter’s poor turnout, it also ate into ‘normal’ seasonal demand that would take place between September and November, the report said. Festival and wedding purchases were brought forward to take advantage of the price dip, therefore demand towards the end of the year is likely to be correspondingly affected, it added.
Gold is the second-largest import item for India after petroleum. Higher gold import bill adversely affects the country’s current account deficit.