Will review gold restrictions by end-March: FM

  • IANS, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 27, 2014 12:40 IST

The restrictions on gold imports will be reviewed by March end, finance minister P Chidambaram said on Monday.

"I am confident that by the end of this year we will be able to revisit some of the restrictions on gold import but we will do so only when we are absolutely sure that we have a firm grip on the current account deficit," he said while addressing tax officials at the Customs Day in New Delhi.

To contain the rising gold imports, the government had increased customs duty on the yellow metal three times in 2013. The levy currently stands at 10%.

Besides, the Reserve Bank has also linked imports of the metal to exports amid a widening CAD and depreciation of the rupee.

Gold imports, which touched a high of 162 tonnes in May, fell to 19.3 tonnes in November in the wake of a series of curbs by both the government and the RBI.

The imports in December was a "little higher" than in November, finance secretary Sumit Bose told reporters.

Chidambaram said there has been about 1-3 tonnes of gold smuggled into the country every month following the restrictions imposed on shipment last year.

"I know gold smuggling has increased...But the restrictions on gold import were absolutely necessary because it is these restrictions which have brought down gold import which in April and May had crossed 300 tonnes.

"If we had not imposed restrictions, there was no way we could have managed balance of payments or the current account deficit," he said.

With the clamour for a duty cut on gold imports growing, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had last week written to the commerce ministry in this regard.

Gold imports constitute the second biggest component in the import bill after crude oil. Spurt in gold import had pushed CAD to a record high of $88.2 billion or 4.8% of GDP last fiscal.

Chidambaram said the long-term method to control the CAD is not to indulge in policy repression by restraining the import of gold.

"The long-term goal is to increase exports. We have to earn as many dollars as we need through exports to pay for imports. We need to find ways to increase exports," he said.

For the April-December period, exports aggregated $230.3 billion and imports $340.3 billion, with the trade deficit at $110 billion.

In value terms, gold and silver imports in April-December period declined 30.3% to $27.3 billion from $39.2 billion during the same period a year earlier.

To restrict gold imports, the RBI in August last year had said entities should ensure that at least one-fifth, or 20%, of every lot of import of gold is exclusively made available for the purpose of exports and the balance for domestic use.

Chidambaram said these restrictions were necessary to contain CAD.

"While we have lost some in perhaps tightening the gold smuggling, we have gained tremendously in terms of controlling the current account deficit and being able to manage the balance of payments and bringing about large stability in the currency," he said.

The government expects to bring down the CAD, which is the difference between the inflow and outflow of foreign exchange, to $50 billion in current fiscal from $88.2 billion in 2012-13.

The CAD in the first half (April-September) of current fiscal narrowed to $26.9 billion (3.1%), from $37.9 billion (4.5%) in the first half of 2012-13.

Declining gold imports has also contributed to the improvement in CAD, which dropped to 1.2% in second quarter, as against 4.9% in the first quarter.

From Around the Web
Sponsored by Revcontent

also read

Trade unions boycott EPFO trustees meet
Show comments

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Chrome and Ad BlockPlus users

1.Press the ‘ABP’ icon in your toolbar at top right of this page

2. Click on ‘Enabled on this site’; this should now change to ‘Disabled on this site’


chrome



For Chrome and Ad Block users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Don’t run on pages on this domain’ and then click ‘exclude’ on the pop up


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Mozilla and AdBlock Plus (ABP) users

1.Press the ‘ABP’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Disable on hindustantimes.com’


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Internet Explorer and AdBlock Plus users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock Plus’ icon in your status bar at the bottom of the screen

2.Select the option ‘Disable on hindustantimes.com’


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Safari and AdBlock users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Don't run pages on this domain’ and then click 'exclude'


chrome