INDIA is set to increase its imports of Gold Bullion in the second half of 2012, a leading industry figure predicts.
"Imports in the second half of the calendar year will be around 300 tonnes, higher than what we have imported in first half, which was 250 tonnes," reckons Prithviraj Kothari, president of the Bombay Bullion Association.
Data from the World Gold Council show Indian Gold Bullion demand as 207.6 tonnes in the first quarter of the year, the most recent period for which data are available. This represents a drop of 29% from the same period in 2011.
India was the world's biggest Gold Bullion market last year, with Indian gold demand for the full year at 933.4 tonnes, according to WGC figures. China however, which was the second biggest market over the year as a whole, overtook India in Q4 2011. China held its number one position in Q2 2012.
Kothari cites Rupee weakness as the major factor behind the drop-off in demand.
"The only change has been the sentiment because prices are at an all-time high and the Rupee has depreciated," says Kothari.
Rupee prices for Gold Bullion have set new records in recent weeks, as the Rupee has hit record lows against the Dollar. India's government meantime has twice increased import duties on gold and silver since the start of the year.
"I think 2012 and 2013 should be dull [for Gold Bullion imports]," says Kothari.
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