India’s Gold Imports Drop 34% in February: Report

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New Delhi: India’s gold imports in February fell 34 per cent compared with the same period last year, news agency NewsRise Financial reported on Monday, citing a government official, as high prices and hopes for a cut in import taxes kept buyers away.

India, the world’s second-biggest consumer of gold, shipped in 36.9 tonnes of gold in February while overseas purchases of the metal surged 20.5 per cent to 941.1 tonnes, in the 11 months to February, it said.

The central government in its Budget for 2016-17 reintroduced a local sales tax on gold jewellery after a gap of four years, on top of record import duty, to curb the local appetite for the precious metal.

India’s gold demand in the March quarter is likely to drop by about two-thirds from a year ago to its lowest in seven years, as higher prices and a strike by jewellers curbed sales in the country.