[NEW DELHI] Gold imports by India, the world's second-biggest consumer, dropped 52 per cent last month after shipments surged in August.
Overseas purchases tumbled to 67 metric tons from 141 tons in August, according to two finance ministry officials, who asked not to be identified. Imports were valued at 123.8 billion rupees (US$1.9 billion) last month, they said.
Shipments jumped in August as jewelers stocked up to meet a surge in demand during the festival and wedding season that started this month. A decline in gold prices to a four-year low in July also spurred purchases. Prices have since recovered 7 per cent, tempering imports.
"Most jewelers have already stocked up and that's why they are not buying aggressively," Harish Galipelli, head of commodities and currencies at Inditrade Derivatives & Commodities Ltd, said by phone from Hyderabad. "Globally prices are quiet and are not showing any direction awaiting clarity on US Fed's rate decision. People are not ready to sit on stocks and get caught on the wrong foot."
Demand usually peaks in the final quarter in India with gifting during festivals and culminates with the start of the wedding season in November. Local demand is poised to climb in the final quarter to the highest level since 2012 and may jump as much as 15 percent from a year earlier, Bachhraj Bamalwa, a director with the All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation, said last month.
Bullion for immediate delivery traded at US$1,152.35 an ounce at 2.10 pm in Mumbai, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The commodity plunged to US$1,077.40 an ounce on July 24, the lowest since 2010. Futures in Mumbai are little changed at 26,586 rupees per 10 grams this year.