Chidambaram rules out further hike in gold import duty

Chidambaram rules out further hike in gold import duty

Ruling out any further increase in import duty on gold, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said any further hike in duty would encourage smuggling of the precious metal.

"We have raised the tariff in January but if you raise the tariff to a prohibited level it will increase smuggling. We are along coast line," he told CNBC TV18 here.

In January, the government raised import duty on gold from 4 per cent to 6 per cent to curb import of the metal in a bid to contain Current Account Deficit (CAD).

"I have tried and I am still trying (to check demand for gold). I appeal to the people to give up this craving for gold. But you know gold is also a safe investment for poor. It is a hedge against inflation," he said.

Meanwhile, the government today hiked the tariff value, the base price on which the customs duty is determined, to USD 521 per ten gms from USD 516 per ten gms of gold.

At present gold prices are ruling at USD 1,597.90 per ounce in Singapore. Gold was quoted at Rs 30,100 per ten gms in Delhi.

CAD at the end of December quarter of 2012-13 touch a record high of 6.7 per cent on account of high oil and gold import and slowdown in exports.

"CAD is very large...imports should financed through exports...there will be CAD for quite some time," he said.

Depreciating the currency is not the first option, he said when asked whether the country is contemplating depreciating the rupee.

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