By Siddesh Mayenkar
MUMBAI Oct 5 India's customs department has
cleared more than a tonne of gold, part of which was owned by
Bank of Nova Scotia, the biggest gold importing bank,
at Mumbai airport after rule clarifications at a high-level
meeting held last month, industry and bank officials said on
Gold imports into India, the world's biggest buyer of the
metal, had virtually stopped after a July 22 circular which tied
domestic consumption to exports.
"More than one tonne of gold was stuck at Mumbai airport and
everything has been released. People have taken delivery of gold
and the festival season has started with a good news for
exporters," Pankaj Kumar Parekh, vice chairman of the Gems and
Jewellery Export Promotion Council told Reuters.
The resumption of imports after a two month gap is positive
for exporters like Rajesh Exports and Shree Ganesh
Jewellery ahead of the peak Christmas season.
It is also positive for domestic jewellers in the run up to
the festival season, which peaks with Dhanteras in November, the
biggest gold buying festival.
"We were after the customs since two months and finally our
consignment has been cleared. We will start processing our
orders from Monday," said an official with a private bullion
importing bank in Mumbai, who wished not to be named due to
India, battling with a record high trade deficit and a weak
currency, is trying to curb imports of dollar-denominated gold,
the most expensive non-essential item in its import bill.
India may import a total of 30 tonnes in October, half of
the normal average, out of which 6 tonnes might go for exporters
and 24 tonnes for the domestic market, Parekh said on Oct. 1.
India imported 393.68 tonnes of the yellow metal from April
to Sept. 25, slightly higher than the normal average of 60
tonnes per month.
A finance ministry official estimated gold imports at
between 750 and 800 tonnes in the fiscal year through March