Mumbai: India’s gold imports plunged more than 90% to just 1.2 tonnes in January 2009, from 18 tonnes at the same month last year, due to high prices and ample stocks, the Bombay Bullion Association said on Thursday.
“Banks have a lot of carryover stocks from December and also November. That’s why imports were less. Prices were also high,” Suresh Hundia, president of the association, told Reuters.
“Imports in January were at 1.2 to 1.8 tonnes,” said Hundia, adding that the final numbers for January imports would be issued in early February.
Some dealers said news of a sharp drop in Indian gold imports put pressure on the price of cash gold, which was trading below a three-month high above $900 an ounce hit on Monday.
India is the world’s largest gold consumer, devouring 8000 tonnes of bullion annually, mostly as jewellery. It also recycles about 200 tonnes of gold every year.
Sales of scrap have picked up in India after bullion prices on the MCX gold futures rallied to their strongest in three months at Rs14,214 per 10 grams on Tuesday, not far from an all-time high of Rs14,320 struck on 10 October.
Local dealers said there had been a flow of Indians selling outdated or broken ornaments since prices rose above Rs14,000.