India’s gold market in August: Indian imports hit nine-month high but retail demand remained weak

Demand for safe haven assets and strong year-to-date performance, coupled with the price correction likely seen by investors as a buying opportunity, supported gold ETF flows. On the other hand, retail gold demand weakened as consumers waited on the sidelines following a sharp correction in the domestic gold price amid rising COVID-19 cases.

Higher prices and custom duty dampened Indian demand in July

  • Indian gold imports reached just 37.7t in July 2019 – 49% lower than the same month last year 
  • The domestic gold price was 2.3% higher in July compared to June; 23% higher y-t-d
  • The custom duty on gold was unexpectedly raised by 2.5% in the Union Budget on 5th July
  • With elevated domestic gold prices and a higher custom duty, the discount in the local gold market reached a peak of US$28/oz in July
  • Volatile prices and weak physical demand encouraged healthy gold futures trading on MCX: volumes touched a high of 46.8t in July