RBI imposes further restrictions on gold imports

In yet another step to contain the current account deficit, the Reserve Bank on Monday imposed restrictions on gold imports by banks and other authorised agencies.

As per the new norms, all banks and authorised agencies will have to ensure that at least 20 per cent of the imported gold is made available for exports and a similar amount is retained with the customs.

“It shall be incumbent on all nominated banks/nominated agencies to ensure that at least one fifth of every lot of import of gold (in any form/purity including import of gold coins/dore) is exclusively made available for the purpose of export,” the RBI said in a notification. It further added that such imports should be linked to financing of exporters by the nominated agencies.

The banks and other entities will also be required to retain 20 per cent of the imported quantity of the gold in customs bonded warehouses.

The restrictions are meant to contain gold imports, which in addition to oil, is putting pressure on the current account deficit that soared to a record high of 4.8 per cent in 2012-13.

It said banks and other authorised entities will be permitted to undertake fresh imports of gold only after the exports have taken place to the extent of at least 75 per cent of gold remaining in the customs bonded warehouse.

The notification said units in SEZ and export oriented units (EoUs), premier and star trading houses are permitted to import gold exclusively for the purpose of exports.

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