Gold importers await uncleared stocks at customs
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Gold importers in India are hoping their old stocks lying at airports would get customs clearance by Tuesday, following a meeting with government officials last week, before they ship more for exporters ahead of the peak Christmas season.
Gold shipments into India, the world's biggest buyer of the metal, came to a virtual halt after the Reserve Bank of India told importers on July 22 that a fifth of their purchases would have to be turned around for export and 80 percent would be available for domestic use.
The rule had created confusion among most government agencies over its implementation and as a result about a tonne of gold meant for exporters was stuck at the airports, prompting a high-level meeting of officials from the commerce and finance ministries, importing banks and the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council.
"We have approached Bombay customs to get our old shipments cleared. Hopefully they should get cleared by today or tomorrow... The Bombay customs is waiting for instructions from Delhi," said an official from a Mumbai-based private importing bank, who did not wish to be quoted as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
"We have lots of orders. Unless our shipments are getting cleared, we won't import more," said the official.
Once the imports resume, exporters who have been facing cancellations of orders could start shipments again, after which domestic traders would also receive supplies under the new rule.
Another bank official, who was part of Friday's meeting, said the customs department has been asked to "ensure speedy turnaround time" for imports meant for exports.
On the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), gold for October delivery was 0.68 percent lower at 29,709 rupees per 10 grams, extending losses for the third straight session. The contract has shed about 15 percent from its record of 35,074 hit on August 28.
Silver for December also fell 0.78 percent to 48,922 rupees per kg.
(Reporting by Siddesh Mayenkar; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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