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India's gold demand in the third quarter this year fell 24 per cent to 145.9 tonnes as the implementation of GST and anti-money laundering legislation (AML) around jewellery retail transactions kept buyers away, according to a report of the World Gold Council (WGC).
In value terms, the gold demand declined by 30 per cent at Rs 38,540 crore, compared to Rs 55,390 crore in the same period of 2016.
The total jewellery demand for the third quarter dropped by 25 per cent at 114.9 tonnes compared to 152.7 tonnes in the same period of 2016.
The value of jewellery demand was down by 31 per cent at Rs 30,340 crore, from Rs 43,880 crore in the same period last year.
The total investment demand for the July-September quarter was down by 23 per cent at 31 tonnes compared to 40.1 tonnes in the same period last year.
In value terms, the gold investment demand was at Rs 8,200 crore, down by 29 per cent from Rs 11,520 crore in the third quarter of 2016.
The total gold recycled in India in the third quarter of 2017 was 26.7 tonnes from 25.7 tonnes in the same period of 2016.
"India's gold demand witnessed a decline of 24 per cent in the third quarter of 2017, as the newly introduced GST and AML around jewellery retail transactions deterred gold buyers," WGC's managing director, India, Somasundaram PR said.
He said after three consecutive quarters of growth, the jewellery demand fell by 25 per cent, and that of bars and coins also fell by 23 per cent to 31 tonnes.
"The drop can be attributed partly to some advance buying in the second quarter to pre-empt the introduction of GST in the third quarter," he said.
However, he said, with the industry's gradual transition to GST proceeding on expected lines, and removal of AML legislation, the demand during the festive season seems to show clear signs of recovery in the fourth quarter.
"This is also underpinned by the faster growth in imports ahead of demand, and price factors in the market.
"Headwinds for demand continue though, following various measures since early 2016 to boost transparency, and therefore we expect full year demand in 2017 to be well below the five-year average, our estimate being between 650 to 750 tonnes, the lower end of the range being more likely," he said.
Going forward, in 2018, the demand is expected to be better, especially after two consecutive years of softness in demand, he said.
"The year 2018 is expected to be the beginning of recovery phase.
However, the government measures like mandatory hallmarking next year, which will be a positive move for the industry, could impact the trade," he added.