India Hikes Duty on Imported Gold, Seeking to Bring Down Trade Deficit

In its attempt to relieve the pressure against the rupee, the Indian government announced on July 1 that it had hiked the duty on imported gold by five percentage points to 12.5%. However, there are fears the import duty hike will spur a resurgence in the smuggling of the commodity.

Faced with a rising trade deficit and weakening local currency, the Indian government announced on July 1 that it was hiking the duty on imported gold from 7.5% to 12.5%. Immediately after the announcement, the precious metal’s price in India went up by 3%.

Following the announcement, some Indian experts lauded the decision which they say will dampen demand for the precious metal. However, an unnamed dealer is quoted in the report suggesting that the hike will likely encourage the smuggling of the commodity. The dealer is quoted as saying:

Gold smuggling was falling after the duty reduction and because of COVID-19 curbs on [the] movement of people. But now it could rise again.

Meanwhile, another expert, Somasundaram PR, a regional CEO of the World Gold Council’s Indian operations, concurred with experts who assert that the hike will help reduce demand for gold and thus ease the pressure on the rupee. Surendra Mehta, a secretary at India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA), is quoted in the same report predicting that the demand for the precious metal will rebound.

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