March gold imports up nearly 6-times y-o-y

March gold imports up nearly 6-times y-o-y

New Delhi: India’s March gold imports jumped nearly six times from a year ago, a trade body head said, as pent-up demand and steady prices since January revived purchases by the world’s largest consumer of the precious metal.

Gold imports in March rose to 27.7 tonnes against 4.8 tonnes a year ago, Suresh Hundia, president of the Bombay Bullion Association (BBA) said on Wednesday.

“Prices are down from the all-time highs we saw last year and that is why people are buying," Hundia told Reuters.

In 2009, the worst year in more than a decade for gold sales in India, gold imports were at 339.8 tonnes, down from 420 tonnes a year ago, data from the BBA showed.

Record high gold prices throughout last year coupled with worst monsoon in nearly four decades and worries over the pace of economic recovery following the global financial crisis reduced the appetite for the metal in 2009, the industry members said.

A brighter economic outlook and softer local prices owing to firmer rupee against the US dollar have regained buying interest, they added.

Gold plays an important role in social and religious ceremonies in India.