August 5, 2013 / 12:52 PM / 4 years ago

Gold traders keep away from imports for 3rd week

A goldsmith holds finished gold bangles at a workshop in Kolkata January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Gold importers stayed on the sidelines for a third straight week due to policy uncertainty on shipments and supporting premiums.

To keep a lid on record trade deficit, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tied gold imports for domestic use to exports, helping cut imports available to the local market by 60 percent. The government has also raised the import tax twice in 2013 to 8 percent.

“Banks are confused on documentation and everything, so imports are not happening,” said Haresh Soni, chairman of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, adding that premiums on London prices were quoted at up to $40 an ounce.

Importers are waiting for clarification from government agencies like the Reserve Bank of India and Directorate General of Foreign Trade for further guidelines on imports, Soni said.

June gold imports fell nearly 81 percent to 31.5 tonnes from a record 162 tonnes in May, although Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said recently that imports again rose in July, without giving details.

India, the world’s biggest buyer of the metal, is hoping to contain gold imports well below the 845 tonnes shipped last year, Chidambaram said.

At 1235 GMT, the actively traded gold for October delivery on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) was down 0.17 percent at 28,000 rupees per 10 grams. It earlier hit a low of 28,676 rupees, a level last seen on April 13.

Silver for September delivery on the MCX fell 0.39 percent to 41,807 rupees per kg.

Reporting by Siddesh Mayenkar; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee

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