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Rise in Indian gold imports pushes annual figure to 900 tonnes

India imported an estimated 100-plus tonnes of gold in December, pushing up the country’s annual imports of the precious metal to 900 tonnes during 2015.

The figure for the last 12 months was 25 per cent higher than 2014, and comes despite efforts by the Indian government to meet the country’s insatiable demand for gold by persuading more people to part with their stockpiles of the precious metal. Recycling centres are springing up to melt down ‘scrap’ jewellery into bullion bars, and there are plans to launch India’s first physical gold exchange this year. (

However, these moves appear to have done little to meet the demand for gold from what is the world’s second-largest gold importing nation after China.

Figures for December show a spike in demand during the first and last weeks of the month which both saw lower gold prices on the world markets. Indian investors took advantage of these good times to buy the precious metal, helping to push the annual spending on imported gold up to an estimated £24.5 billion for 2015. However, despite the cost of gold imports increasing on 2014, the figure was down on 2011 and 2012 which were India’s biggest gold importing years of the decade so far.

Analyst Sudheesh Nambiath, from GFMS Thomson Reuters, commented: “Gold demand increased in December when prices were at the lowest level in 2015, and as retailers increased their inventory to optimum levels. Our estimate for December import is 107 tonnes.”

Indian gold buying during the first two weeks of 2016 has been subdued, according to the Business Standard, as this point in the New Year is traditionally considered an inauspicious time to buy the precious metal.

A bullion dealer told the publication: “Indian demand for gold may or may not increase even when prices are around bottom but they take inauspicious days seriously.”

Article Last Updated: Monday, January 18, 2016