Gold bullion imports in India hit 13-month high

Gold bullion imports by the India's northern state of Gujarat touched its highest levels in thirteen months during June, primarily on account of recent relaxations in gold import norms by the new government.

Per trade figures released June 30, the total gold imports during the month of June totaled 14.33 metric tonnes (MT). This is the first time in the past year that the monthly gold imports have touched double digits. Gold imports surged by 74% compared to 8.74 MT in June last year.

In the third week of May, the government announced relaxation on gold import curbs by allowing star and premier export houses to import gold. Banks and nominated agencies were also allowed to provide gold for domestic use as loans to jewelers and bullion traders. Consequently, the domestic gold price in the country declined sharply. The premium on gold plunged from $130 per oz to $35 to $40 per oz.

On the other hand, silver imports by India plunged during June this year. The silver imports by the state during June totaled 3.79 MT, significantly lower when compared with net imports of 112.20 MT imported during June 2013.

According to industry sources, the gold industry in the country witnessed a 30% shrink in 2013-14.

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