India November gold bar imports increase by 186% to 113.1 mt
London (Dec 3) Imports of gold bars into India totalled 113.1 mt in November, nearly treble the 39 mt reported in October, Indian customs data showed Thursday.
It puts November imports as the second highest of the year, below the 145 mt reported in August.
Imports of gold dore -- gold ore used in refining -- totalled 44 mt, a 50% increase from October.
Indian gold demand typically picks up in November, during the festival and wedding seasons around Diwali, with gold traditionally given as presents during the period.
India vies with China as the world's largest consumer of gold, but unlike China has to rely almost entirely on imports to meet demand. Both countries are expected to consume around 900-1,000 mt of gold this year at levels similar to last year.
Imports will have also benefited from record low gold prices in November, which saw prices hit 6.5-year lows around $1,050, on a strong US dollar and expectations of the first interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve in almost a decade.
Gold in November was on average 6.45% lower than October, and is down nearly 10% on the year, according to the final settlement price on the London Bullion Market Association Gold Price.
Stronger Indian demand in November is also evident in the differential paid for gold locally to the international price, as it moved out of a discount as high as $10/oz in October to around $2-2.50/oz from the second week of November.
Platts assessed the India gold premium at $2/oz Thursday, unchanged from Wednesday.
The London Bullion Market Association Gold Price settled at $1,050.60/oz Thursday morning, down $4.80/oz from the previous session.