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Gold dore imports on the rise

Accounts for 30% of total official imports of the yellow metal; Imports made up 86% of India's gold supply between 2016-2020 and set to rise further in 2022: WGC

Gold dore imports on the rise
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Glittering Over Policy Push

• The increase reflects India's latest accommodative stance towards gold refining

• Duty benefits led to a massive expansion of refining capacity

• The number of refineries grew from 3 in 2012 to 32 in 2020

• In last five years, gold dore imports made up 30% of the total imports of yellow metal

Hyderabad: Gold dore imports by India have been constantly increasing. The increase reflects India's latest accommodative stance towards gold refining. In the last five years, gold dore imports made up 30 per cent of the total official imports of the yellow metal. Imports made up 86 per cent of India's gold supply between 2016-2020, and inbound shipments continue to grow despite high import duty. One important change that has taken place in India's gold market is the growth in gold dore imports, observes World Gold Council (WGC) in its latest report.

Duty benefits led to a massive expansion of refining capacity in India as the number of refineries grew from three in 2012 to 32 in 2020. Currently, some 25-26 refineries are active, with a combined refining capacity of 1,200- 1,400 tonnes, it said. With lower duty on gold dore, its share of gold imports has increased from 11 per cent in 2014 to 29 per cent in 2020.

Somasundaram PR, WGC Regional CEO, India, said: "As the second largest global market, Indian gold demand is heavily dependent on bullion and dore imports. And looking at the current market trends we expect gold imports to be stronger in 2022, as compared to this year. "Bullion industry has developed over the last three decades in India with significant addition to organised refining capacity and an LBMA accredited refinery."

Since the first duty hike in 2012, India has imported some 6,581 tonnes of gold, averaging 730 tonnes per annum, according to WGC's 'Bullion Trade in India' report. In 2020, India imported 377 tonnes of gold bars and dore from over 30 countries, of which 55 per cent came from just two countries - Switzerland (44 per cent) and the UAE (11 per cent).

However, he said, challenges remain on dore sourcing and organised trading which act as barriers to a more active role for banks and bullion trade. "High taxes on bullion continue to be a strong incentive for the grey markets that constantly undermine all reforms to make gold liquid and mainstream.

"There are significant opportunities to emerge as a global bullion trading hub through the international gold spot exchange (IIBX) with a thriving domestic bullion eco-system underpinned by globally recognised standards and infrastructure," he pointed out.

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