Traders mull six-month ban on sales of gold coins, bars

MUMBAI Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:27pm IST

Gold biscuits are seen in this picture illustration taken inside a jewellery showroom in Mumbai June 4, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

Gold biscuits are seen in this picture illustration taken inside a jewellery showroom in Mumbai June 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/Files

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Jewellers could continue a voluntary ban on sales of gold coins and bars for six months, in support of the government's efforts to curb imports, a trade body said in a statement on Wednesday.

The All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, which has more than 40,000 members, added that over 65 percent of jewellers had agreed to the ban on sales of bars and coins, which account for about 35 percent of total business.

"The jewellery community is one in supporting the country in times of crisis. We are happy to help with this voluntary action," Haresh Soni, chairman of the federation, said in the statement.

(Timeline: India’s love for gold and government’s efforts to curb it here)

The trade body had appealed to jewellers to stop sales of coins and bars in late June.

India's current account deficit swelled to a record 4.8 percent of gross domestic product in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, and gold is the second-largest item in the iport bill.

The government has hiked import duty to 8 percent and the central bank has tightened availability of supplies in an effort to rein in imports, which hit a record 162 tonnes in May.

(Reporting by Siddesh Mayenkar; Editing by Jo Winterbottom)

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