The country’s gold import, which is at a “standstill” now, is expected to pick up and may touch 725 tonnes this fiscal, a top industry body has said.

“The gold import is presently at a standstill, but it may pick up in the next three months till December to 150 tonnes and we expect total imports to touch 725 tonnes in FY’14,” All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) chairman Haresh Soni told PTI on the sidelines of a Bombay Bullion Association (BBA) summit here.

The country imported 354 tonnes of gold in April-September 2013, of which 118 tonnes came in April, 162 tonnes in May, 31 tonnes in June, 41 tonnes in July, 2 tonnes in August and nil in September, Soni said.

The country’s total yellow metal consumption is around 900 tonnes a year, of which 600 tonnes goes into manufacturing and 300 tonnes into investments.

Gold imports into India, the world’s biggest buyer of the metal, virtually stopped after a July 22 RBI circular which tied domestic consumption to exports. The new rule stipulates that 20 per cent of imports must be turned around for exports, most of which are in the form of jewellery.

India, battling a record high trade deficit and a weak currency, is trying to curb imports of dollar-denominated gold, most expensive non-essential item in its import bill.

“We are starving for supplies as artisans are idle. We are optimistic that government may allow imports,” Soni said.

Meanwhile, GJF is hopeful of receiving RBI and SEBI approval for its proposed Rashtriya Swarna Nivesh scheme, an initiative which is expected to bring the idle gold back into circulation.

“We hope to collect 400 tonnes of gold through this scheme in FY’14. We plan to start pilot project with 500 jewellers and gradually increase it to 10,000 jewellers,” Soni said.

The focus of the BBA-organised India International Bullion Summit was to strengthen India’s presence in the global bullion market, and increasing interaction of domestic gold and jewellery industry with its international counterparts, BBA president Mohit Kamboj said.

“The IIBS served as the single platform for industry experts, suppliers and buyers to converge and address the concerns of the industry,” Kamboj said.

(This article was published on October 6, 2013)
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