India Gold Bullion Imports "To Fall by One Third This Year"

IMPORTS of Gold Bullion to India are set to fall by nearly a third in 2012, according to a poll of industry insiders conducted by newswire Reuters.

The poll of 10 respondents, including jewelers, brokers and importers, found the median estimate to be 655 tonnes of gold – a 32% drop from 2011's volume. According to World Gold Council data, India imported 969 tonnes of Gold Bullion last year.

"Last year we had good imports but looking at the pace of the fall so far we are heading for a big fall in 2012," says Prithviraj Kothari, president of the Bombay Bullion Association.

Kothari's estimate for 2012 Gold Bullion imports was 450 tonnes, the lowest in the survey.

The poll was conducted in the wake of India's decision earlier this month to double gold import duties for the second time this year.

"Doubling of duty within three months is heavy for consumers to digest," says Pinakin Vyas, assistant vice-president Gold Bullion importer IndusInd Bank .

"The initial reaction from the market is not good."

Many Indian gold dealers have been on strike since the move was announced. 

On Friday, India's government cut the tariff value of gold imports – which forms the basis of calculating duties – from $573 per 10 grams to $530 per 10 grams.

"The reduction in tariff valueis going to have no eventful impact on the price of jewelry," said Mehul Choksi, chairman of Gitanjali Gems in Mumbai, responding to the announcement.

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