India to Announce Gold Import Curbs Shortly
India to announce gold import curbs this week.Reuters

New Delhi could announce measures to curb gold imports on 18 November or 19th as surging inbound shipments threaten to widen India's trade deficit.

A senior unnamed Indian finance ministry official told Reuters that the proposed limits to curb gold imports were "almost ready and may be announced today or tomorrow."

Meanwhile, shares of Indian jewellers Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri (TBZ) and Shree Ganesh Jewellery House sagged in Mumbai trade on Tuesday, after the central bank said it was discussing increasing restrictions on bullion imports.

TBZ's stock was trading 2.30% lower at 1328 IST while Shree Ganesh's stock was trading 1.53% lower.

Gold is the second-biggest item in India's import bill and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor S S Mundra said recently that lawmakers were concerned that higher gold imports will worsen the nation's trade deficit.

Officials from the central bank and the finance ministry met on 13 November to review the country's gold import policy, but no decision was taken.

Indian Demand

India's October gold imports surged four-fold to $4.18bn (£2.67bn, €3.35bn) from a year ago. October shipments into gold-crazy India jumped to about 150 tonnes, as against 143 tonnes in September and under 25 tonnes in October 2013.

September shipments surged 450% year-on-year to $3.75bn.

India once again became the world's leading gold consumer in the third quarter, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).

The subcontinent bought 225.1 tonnes of gold jewellery, coins and bars in the quarter ended 30 September as against the 182.7 tonnes bought by China, WGC data showed.