Gold demand in India rises 66 pc to 963 tonnes in 2010: WGC

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Mumbai, Feb 17 (PTI) India emerged as the strongestmarket for gold during 2010 with total demand rising by 66 percent to 963 tonnes despite high prices, the World Gold Council(WGC) said today.

"Last year has been a great year for gold globally, andespecially for India and China. India emerged as the strongestmarket with total demand rising by 66 per cent at 963-tonnesamid strong economic growth. The outlook for this year is alsorobust," WGC''s Managing Director (Middle-East and India), AjayMitra, told reporters here today.

Globally, the demand for gold during 2010 was at a 10-year high of 3,812 tonnes and thus India accounted for about25 per cent of the global demand.

Mitra, however, said the government is likely to increaseimport duty on gold in the forthcoming budget which maymarginally increase the price of the precious metal.

The import duty on gold currently stands at Rs 300 per 10gram.

He said that while gold prices are likely to go uppost-budget, more gold is likely to come into the country fromthe international market that would add significant revenuesto the state exchequer.

The precious metal is currently pegged at USD 1,421 anounce (about 30 grams) and little over Rs 20,000 per ten gram.

On last year''s performance, Mitra said the global demandfor gold reached a 10-year high at 3,812-tonnes, up nine percent YoY. In terms of value, the annual average demand surged38 per cent to a record USD 150-billion.

The value of imports by India during 2010 worked out toabout USD 38 billion.

The jewellery demand was remarkably robust rising 17 percent from 1,760-tonnes in 2009 to 2,069 tonnes in 2010. Whileinvestment demand in terms of bars, coins and ETFs remainedstable.

A structural shift in central bank policy towards goldalso helped boost demand growth significantly, Mitra said. PTIPP JJ ABC

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