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Gold import bill up 12%, reaches $35 bn in 2015

India's imports of gold crossed 100 tonnes in December alone, gross official import crossed 900 tonnes

Rajesh Bhayani  |  Mumbai 

India gold import bill up 12 per cent, reaches $35 bn in 2015

India’s import in December 2015 is estimated to have crossed 100 tonnes following sharp increase in for the precious metal during the first and the last week of the month when prices fell sharply world over.

With 105 tonnes of estimated in December, total gross import in 2015 crossed 900 tonnes which was 25 per cent more than 2014. In terms of value, it was up about 12 per cent at around $35 billion, as December import bill was around $3.7 billion. imported $31.17 billion worth in 2014.

Sudheesh Nambiath, lead analyst, GFMS Thomson Reuters said, “increased in December when prices were at the lowest level in 2015, and as retailers increased their inventory to optimum levels. Our estimate for December import is 107 tonnes.” In 2015, just over 700 tonnes was net import as rest was duty-free for re-export after value addition.

Despite sharp spurt in quantity imported, import bill went up by only 12 per cent because of low prices in market. Average fell by 8 per cent in 2015 while the oscillated in a $246 range. In other words, prices in market fell by nearly 20% from the annual high. The import bill low also because more took place when prices fell below $1,100 per ounce.

On the other hand, significant increase in import of unrefined or happened at a premium pricing, which at times was a percentage over the LBMA Its share in total supply increased from some 15% to 30% in 2015. Mostly is imported at a premium over the LBMA PM because of heavy competition at sourcing, given the 2 per cent differential that refiners in excise-free zone enjoy. import in net purity terms was more than 200 tonnes as per estimates of GFMS Thomson Reuters.

import in November was 98 tonnes. In March and August 2015, import had crossed 100 tonnes mark as prices were lower, according to GFMS.

Gold import bill up 12%, reaches $35 bn in 2015
in the last two weeks has again remained subdued because of traditional belief that this period is inauspicious to buy precious metal. A bullion dealer said, “Indian for may or may not increase even when prices are around bottom but they take inauspicious days seriously.”

During 2015, there were apprehensions about from rural sector because agriculture output was impacted due to poor rains. However, according to Nambiath, “Pent up at lower levels and expectation for further weakening of Indian rupee added to the gains.”

First Published: Sat, January 16 2016. 23:27 IST