Indians hold a record 23,000 tonnes to 24,000 tonnes of gold worth $800 billion (approximately Rs 54.51 lakh crore), a study by the World Gold Council has found. This makes Indian households the world’s largest hoarders of the yellow metal.
The figures remain high despite a drop in international prices. Gold stocks make up nearly half of India’s gross domestic product if the Reserve Bank of India’s 555.7-tonnes stock is taken into account.
The report titled “India’s Gold Market: evolution and innovation” said the demand for the precious metal will remain at an average of 850 tonnes to 950 tonnes per annum by 2020. India’s demand for gold saw a seven-year low of 650 tonnes to 750 tonnes in 2016, but observers believe it will revive this year.
“Demonetisation, however, should also expand the tax base, and the positive impact on public finances could generate a more benign and supportive policy government approach towards gold. The note ban has led to much-needed transparency across the gold value chain,” WGC Managing Director (India) Somasundaram PR told The Financial Express.
Restrictions on gold include a 10% import fee and the display of a Permanent Account Number for purchases above Rs 2 lakh.
The council has also predicted a rise in the purchase of bars and gold coins to 250 tonnes to 300 tonnes as well as Indian jewellery exports by 2020. Somasundaram said factors including the imminent launch of the Goods and Service Tax regime, compulsory hallmarking and the transition towards cashless transactions will make the process even more transparent.
The organisation’s figures, however, do not include the unaccounted for assets held by religious institutions and trusts.