Gold bars sit in a vault at a refinery in Australia. (Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg)

Wedding Demand Props Up Indian Gold Imports for a Second Month

(Bloomberg) -- Gold imports by India climbed in February for a second straight month as retailers increased buying due to jewelry purchases for weddings in the world’s biggest consuming nation after China.

Overseas purchases advanced 5.5 percent to 70.7 tons last month from a year earlier, according to a person familiar with the data, who asked not to be named as the figures aren’t public. Imports during the April-February period declined 6.4 percent to 720 tons, the person said. Finance Ministry spokesman D.S. Malik wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Buying and wearing of gold during weddings and festivals is seen as auspicious in the majority Hindu country. Demand is set to recover this year as cash handouts and higher spending in an election year boost disposable incomes, according to the World Gold Council.

Wedding Demand Props Up Indian Gold Imports for a Second Month

“Rural demand is on the rise thanks to higher crop support prices and more rural-friendly schemes by the government,” Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, director at Commtrendz Risk Management Services, said by phone from Coimbatore in southern India.

Benchmark gold futures in Mumbai have eased 6 percent in the last two weeks after rising to 34,031 rupees ($486) per 10 grams on Feb. 20. That’s the highest since September 2013 and just below a record of 35,074 rupees touched the same year.

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