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Business Maverick

Gold Imports by India Hit Decade-High as Jewellery Demand Doubles

Shoppers pass an imitation gold jewelry store at Zaveri Bazaar during the festival of Dhanteras in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Indians flocked to jewelry stores on the biggest gold-buying day of the year, with a bumper sales period for precious metals that culminates in the festival of Diwali expected for the first time since the pandemic began.

Gold imports by India accelerated to the highest level in a decade last year as jewelry sales almost doubled, with the demand outlook remaining bright, according to the World Gold Council.

Demand revived after two bleak years as Indians once again flocked to jewelry stores in 2021 as fears of the pandemic eased. Weddings and celebrations picked up in full swing in the three months through December, more than doubling full-year imports to about 925 tons, the highest since 2011, according to the council data.

“Starting 2022, you will see demand setting up a new normal toward 800-850 tons,” compared with an average of 667 tons in the five years through 2020, said P.R. Somasundaram, regional chief executive officer for India at the London-based group. The next few years will be key as policy reforms and technology let gold evolve into a more transparent mainstream asset class, he said.


Decade High

Total demand for jewelry, coins and bars jumped 79% to 797 tons last year, the data showed. Covid-19 and its variants, global concerns on inflation, interest rates and geo-political developments will remain factors to watch in 2022, he said.

Key numbers from WGC’s quarterly demand trends report:
  • India’s gold demand in the October-December festival quarter rose to a record high of about 344 tons, according to Somasundaram
    • Jewelry sales nearly doubled to 265 tons and investment purchases gained 61% to about 79 tons
  • Imports climbed 25% to 208.4 tons in the quarter

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