NEW DELHI: Gold imports are expected to more than halve to about 150 tonnes in the coming July-September quarter, against the projected 350 tonnes in the current quarter, due to sluggish demand, says an industry official.
"We expect gold imports to be in the range of 120-150 tonnes in July-September period of this year," Bombay Bullion Association President (Emeritus) Suresh Hundia told PTI.
He said gold imports in the April-June quarter are expected to be around 350 tonnes.
The country had imported 160 tonnes of gold in July-September period of last fiscal.
Gold imports in the coming quarter would decline on likely weak demand, which would be a relief to the government, that is facing current account deficit, he said.
"There would be hardly any demand in July and September, and imports are likely to be about 40 tonnes in each month," he said, but added that demand would pick up in August with the start of festival season.
Gold imports in India, the world\\\\\\\'s largest consumer, will also depend on good monsoon, global prices and rupee situation, he added.
In the April-June quarter of 2013-14, total gold imports could reach 350 tonnes, and much of it has already been shipped in April and May at 142 tonnes and 162 tonnes, respectively, he said, adding the overseas purchase of gold in the current month may not exceed 50 tonnes.
Asked if recent curbs have reduced gold imports, Hundia said: "Demand will drive gold imports even if shipments are made costlier by raising customs duty to 8 per cent and other measures. Demand for gold will shoot up if global prices fall sharply and rupee strengthens in the coming months."
All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Association Regional Chairman (North) Vijay Khanna too said restrictions on gold imports have not reduced overall gold imports, rather it has encouraged illegal shipments.
Till last week, global prices of gold were up by 1.63 per cent to $1,298 per ounce, while the yellow metal\\\\\\\'s rates in the national capital stood higher by Rs 260 per ten grams at Rs 27,640.