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India not planning further curbs on gold imports – trade secretary

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India is not planning to impose any further curbs on gold imports as the current account deficit is under control, Trade Secretary Rajeev Kher said on Wednesday.

The South Asian country has imported 7 tonnes of gold so far in January, while 39 tonnes of gold was imported in December, Kher said after a meeting with industry representatives.

India’s gold imports in November were 151.58 tonnes, according to the government data.

In a surprise move on Nov. 28, the world’s second-biggest gold consumer scrapped a rule that traders had to export 20 percent of all gold imports.

“The government is also considering our recommendation of a reduction in the import duty,” said Bachhraj Bamalwa, director of industry body the All-India Gem and Jewellery Trade Federation, which was represented at the meeting.

Bamalwa expects January gold imports to be around 50 tonnes.

India in May 2014 had eased some of the restrictions on gold imports it imposed in 2013 when a wide current account deficit had sparked the worst currency turmoil since a 1991 balance of payments crisis.

As part of its measures India last raised year the import duty on gold to 10 percent, which has led to widespread smuggling of the metal.

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