Bullion — gold, silver, and coins — exports by Switzerland to India almost trebled in the first 11 months (January-November) of 2014. Heavy demand during the marriage season and drop in global prices from the second half of September to November-end are attributed as reasons for the import surge.

The latest data from the Swiss customs authority show that gold, silver and coin exports to India grew to Swiss Francs (CHF) 2.85 billion in November from 981 million in January 2014. At the current exchange rate of around ₹69 for one CHF, export in rupee terms grew to over ₹18,000 crore from ₹6,800 crore.

Swiss authorities started giving country-wise data for precious metal export only from January last year.

Data also show that for the 11-month period, total export of gold, silver and coins to India was worth CHF 17.13 billion or ₹1.2-lakh crore. Of this, gold (including gold plated with platinum in unwrought forms for non-monetary purposes but excluding gold in powder form), accounts for CHF 17.03 billion.

Interestingly, the export surge took place despite many import curbs such as a 10 per cent duty and the erstwhile 80:20 scheme, which required entities importing gold to re-export 20 per cent of it in value-added form.

India scrapped the 80:20 scheme on November 28, last year. Even Commerce Ministry data show that gold imports grew significantly in the June-December (barring July) period.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, gold imports into the country increased some 18 per cent to ₹1.57 lakh crore during April-December of the current financial year against ₹1.33 lakh crore in the same period a year ago. Volume-wise, gold imports from Switzerland were 457 tonnes with shipments during September-November being 339 tonnes, a clear indication of falling gold prices encouraging the buying trend.

Gold imports from Switzerland had been in double digits from January to September. In January, 45 tonnes were imported, while in September 66 tonnes were brought in.

Imports surged to 160 tonnes in October, thanks to lower prices in the global market and festival demand. In November, India imported 113 tonnes.