Mumbai: Gold imports by India will touch a record high in 2011 despite high prices of the metal, says the Bombay Bullion Association (BBA). The association said its initial estimates indicate that imports of the metal in this country will remain steady and strong, and could hit a record of 800 tons for the year.
''Gold import by India is going up every month despite the high gold prices. Strong jewellery sales and consumer investment demand for gold are the main drivers for the surge in gold imports,'' a BBA official said.
According to unofficial estimates of BBA, gold imports by India could touch or exceed 800 tons in 2011 if the current trend continues.
''In the first two months of January and February, gold imports have been strong. The trend is continuing in March also,'' he said.
According to World Gold Council (WGC) statistics, gold imports by India, the largest consumer in 2010, exceeded 2009 levels on increased jewellery purchases.
In the last eight years, from 2000, annual gold imports into India have ranged between 400-800 tons. In 2008, India's gold imports dipped by 45 per cent to touch 450 tons impacted by the global economic meltdown, uncertainty in stocks and commodities markets and volatility in gold prices.
India imported 722 tons of bullion in 2007, while imports in 2006 were 715 tons.