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India "Not Done Yet" in Fighting Gold Bullion Imports

Fresh measures to curb legal inflows being considered, says senior official...
INDIA's government may take further steps to try and curb inflows of gold bullion, a senior official has said.
Arvind Mayaram, Economic Affairs Secretary, says that further steps can be taken to insure a definite decrease in bullion imports to India – the world's largest consumer market for gold.
"We are not at the end of our wits as far as gold imports are concerned," Mayaram told Bloomberg Television, referring to a series of steps already taken this year.
"If required, there are other measures that can be taken. They will be considered at the appropriate time."
Already this month the Indian government has increased gold import duty from 6% to 8% in a bid to reduce the country's massive gold bullion imports, said to be the cause of its widening current account deficit.
The government may explore further tax rises, believes Haresh Soni, chairman of the All India Gems & Jewellry Trade Federation, as well as tightening financing terms for gold bullion importers further.
Any such steps to limit gold demand will only spur smuggling and damage India's jewelry industry further, warns Soni.
With Indian banks now charging jewelers a premium up to $6 per ounce over international benchmark prices, India's gold smuggling has already turned higher according to local reports.

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