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India may stop refined gold imports in next five years, say experts

In 3-5 years, domestic refineries would meet the whole demand

Rajesh Bhayani  |  Mumbai 

Representative image

Import of might stop in three to five years, claim experts. At present, India’s annual gold consumption is about 800-900 tonnes, of which about 750 tonnes is imported. However, domestically has been becoming more and more important.

“India will stop importing gold in five years,” said Rajesh Khoshla, a veteran of the Indian bullion industry and chairman emeritus of MMTC-PAMP. He added that domestic refineries will meet the entire demand.

This will include gold refined from imported doré bars, recycled metal, mobilisation through monitisation, as well as mining of about 100-150 tonnes. This will replace imported Khoshla was speaking at 6th India International Bullion summit, organised by the Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association.

In 2018, India’s according to the data, was 479 tonnes. This included gold imported for re-export. Gold refined from imported doré was 275 tonnes, was 87 tonnes, and 8.6 tonnes from mines and other sources.

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Experts said if golf imported for exporting was not considered, 50 per cent of domestic demand was met by gold refined in India. Most of these used imported doré. Khoshla, however, was bullish on domestically refined gold, as he expected the government to permit gold mining under its new policy. This is expected to be implemented by the end of the year.

Most participants at the summit said India could produce 100-150 tonnes of gold. The gold-monetisation scheme is also expected to gain momentum over the next three to five years.

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Experts said only gold used for re-exports would be imported. This is because only London Bullion Market-certified gold was accepted in the international market, and India had only one such refinery. Over the next three-five years, the number of LBMA-certified refineries would also increase — three are expecting certification in two years.

About 160 tonnes of gold was also used for investments and coins. Experts on Friday said rising popularity of and demand for would reduce the demand for This would lower imports.

Another analyst said that importing doré might not be that easy. Consequently, reducing refined would also not be easy. He said small refineries in India were passing on tax benefits to international mines, mostly in African. This has irked several big mines.

First Published: Fri, March 15 2019. 20:51 IST