MMTC sees more gold import curbs

The government may further raise import duties on gold or put a cap on purchases in a bid to rein in the current account deficit in the 2013-14 budget, an official with the biggest state-run gold importer said on Monday.

India is the world's biggest gold importer, and purchases of the precious metal have contributed to wideaning the current account deficit to a record high 5.4 per cent of gross domestic product in the July-Sept quarter of the current 2012-13 fiscal year.

The government hiked import duties by 2 percentage points to 6 per cent on January 21 to discourage gold imports, and the official with state-run purchaser MMTC expects duties to be raised further.

He also said the government may cap imports or cut the number of companies authorised to import gold if purchases have not slowed down by the time it announces the 2013-14 budget on February 28. "We are consciously reducing our gold imports from our portfolio because the government wants it that way," the MMTC official told reporters. He declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

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