Chennai: Gold imports for domestic consumption in June quarter rose 46 per cent to 185.2 tonnes from 126.5 tonnes in the same quarter last year. Meanwhile gold demand at the retail end rose 14 per cent to 212 tonnes.
In H1, net imports for domestic consumption stood at 279 tonnes, compared to 238 tonnes a year ago, according to GFMS data. “Higher marriage days, together with heavy purchases during ‘Akshaya Tritiya’ resulted in the rise in imports,” said Debjit Saha.
While Indian refiners supplied the bulk of the gold into the market, supply from this source grew only 2 per cent year-on-year as supply from refiners is nearing saturation point. Indian banks returned to business, importing 123 tonnes of gold for domestic consumption in H1 compared to 85 tonnes in the corresponding period, a rise of 45 per cent.
Unofficial imports stood at 35 tonnes in H1, lower than 46.8 tonnes in the same period last year. In Q2, 20 tonnes came through grey channel. “Unofficial supply has indeed been muted, but that is because the general elections took place in the second quarter which saw smugglers remain quieter than usual due to a heightened vigil by authorities. That might be a factor behind the rise in official supply”’ said Saha.
On the demand front, the market consumed 212 tonnes of gold. Jewellery demand rose by 16 per cent to 168 tonnes, while investment demand increased by 10 per cent to 44 tonnes. In the June quarter, consumers bought in advance both for marriage and investment purposes, anticipating the price would trend higher.
The first half of this year remained the best since H1 2015. Total demand for the period stood at 371 tonnes. Of this, jewellery consumption attracted 289 tonnes, while investment demand was 82 tonnes.
As per GFMS estimates, genuine exports of jewellery rose 15 per cent in the first half of the year to 28 tonnes. However, round-tripping continued and GFMS estimates that these flows to have increased by 30 per cent from the corresponding period in 2018, to 88 tonnes.