RBI Allows Private Agencies to Import Gold

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) yesterday eased tough gold import rules by permitting seven more private agencies to import the yellow metal. It is a measure that industry officials say could increase supplies and reduce premiums in the peak wedding season.

Gold imports by India, the world’s No. 2 bullion consumer after China, could quickly rise from current levels, according to the officials. This would help global prices, which slumped 28 percent last year, partly due to India’s import curbs.

Struggling with a ballooning trade deficit, India in 2013 imposed a record high duty of 10 percent on overseas purchases of gold, the second-biggest item in its import bill, and introduced a rule tying import quantities to export levels.

On Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of India allowed “star trading houses”, private jewellery exporters which had been barred from importing gold since July 2013, to resume imports, with immediate effect.

As a result, more than 20 entities, including state-run banks, private banks and agencies will now be allowed to import the metal.