NEW DELHI: India’s September gold imports fell an annual 17.9 percent to 32.6 tonnes, as high prices hit sentiment in the world’s largest market for the yellow metal, a trade body head said on Monday.
The figure was lower than a Reuters poll of 10 importers, traders and an analyst last week that saw imports in September at 36.25 tonnes.
The president of Bombay Bullion Association, Suresh Hundia, said heavy purchases by traders and manufacturers, ahead of the traditional gold-buying season, boosted September overseas purchases compared with 26.8 tonnes imported a month ago.
“These imports have taken place for the festivals,” Hundia said. “But otherwise, prices are still too high.”
India, a price-sensitive market, is in the midst of its August to November busy season for gold, that will see the festivals of Dussera this month and Dhanteras and Diwali in November, when demand peaks.
Afshin Nabavi, head of trading at Geneva based MKS Finance a large gold supplier to India said sales may not pick up if prices remain at current levels.
“The demand has slowed since gold broke above $1,300,” Nabavi told Reuters.
Hundia said if gold prices fall closer to 18,000 rupees ($404.4) per 10 grammes, it could spur demand.
On Monday, spot gold of 0.995 purity in the Mumbai market quoted at 19,100 rupees per 10 grammes, while overseas spot gold traded at $1,315 per ounce, a little below its all-time high of $1,320 scaled last Friday.