Gold Imports Rebound in India 
An employee holds gold bars in the precious metals vault in Munich, Germany. (Photographer: Andreas Gebert/Bloomberg) 

Gold Imports Rebound in India 

India’s gold imports more than doubled last month ahead of the start of key festivals in the world’s second-biggest bullion consumer.

Inbound shipments climbed to 35.5 tons in August from 14.8 tons a year earlier, according to a person familiar with the data, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Imports were also higher than July’s 25.5 tons. Finance Ministry spokesman Rajesh Malhotra didn’t immediately respond to a call to his mobile phone.

Gold Imports Rebound in India 

The rebound in demand follows a nearly 80% drop in imports between January and June and comes as India slowly eases restrictions on movement and economic activity put in place to control the coronavirus outbreak. The country is about to enter its key season for weddings and festivals, peaking with Diwali in November, which usually sees gold demand rise as buying and gifting the precious metal is considered auspicious.

Still, expectations for a substantial recovery are muted as prices remain near record levels and India is headed for its first annual economic contraction in more than four decades.

“The liquidity is going to be tight in the market and prices are also high, so buyers will cut down” on how much they buy, said Harish Galipelli, head of commodity and currencies at Inditrade Derivatives & Commodities. “I don’t see any major upswings in imports going forward.”

While demand has improved to about 20% of normal business from 15% previously, it’s currently an inauspicious period to buy gold, according to N. Anantha Padmanaban, chairman of the All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council. Purchases may not pick up until about mid-October, during the festival of Navratri, he said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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