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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

India bans export of gold above 22 carats

Trade group says move is a bid to curb a practice known as "round tripping"

An Indian customer looks at gold jewellery in Bangalore.  The government has banned the export of gold above 22 carats. Manjunath Kiran / AFP
An Indian customer looks at gold jewellery in Bangalore. The government has banned the export of gold above 22 carats. Manjunath Kiran / AFP

India has banned the export of gold products with a purity above 22 carats in a move a trade group said was a bid to curb a practice known as "round tripping".

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade issued a notification dated August 14 that stated exports of jewellery or medallions, containing gold of 8 carats and above up to a maximum limit of 22 carats shall only be permitted, without giving a reason.

"Round tripping to Dubai will come down due to the move," said an official with India Bullion and Jewellers Association. A trader, via round tripping, can import gold products at a lower import tax and re-export the same stock without any value addition.

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The ban affects jewellery, including partly processed jewellery, coins and medals.

"Until now, traders only had to pay a lower import tax – or no tax at all – on gold jewellery and gold coins so long as they re-exported the gold," said the Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

"This may also be an attempt by the authorities to prevent the current account deficit from widening again after Indian gold imports rose sharply in recent months."

India's gold imports in July nearly doubled from last year to US$2.1 billion, while the country's trade deficit narrowed to $11.45bn in July from a month ago, following a slowdown in merchandise imports.

India is the world's second-biggest consumer of gold behind China, with many saving their money in gold, using it to hedge against inflation and for gifts at special occasions. The country imports about 800 tonnes of gold a year.