India’s 2018 gold demand to remain below 10-year average

India is the world’s second-biggest gold consumer. (Reuters)
Updated 06 February 2018
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India’s 2018 gold demand to remain below 10-year average

MUMBAI: Gold demand in India is likely to remain below its 10-year average for a third year in 2018 as higher taxes and new transparency rules on purchases may cap last year’s rebound in buying, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Tuesday.
India is the world’s second-biggest gold consumer and lower demand there could rein in global prices that have risen 8 percent since mid-December, although a drop in imports of the metal would help India reduce its trade deficit.
Gold consumption in 2018 will likely be between 700 and 800 tons versus 727 tons last year, Somasundaram PR, the managing director of WGC’s Indian operations, said on Tuesday. Indian demand has averaged 840 tons over the last 10 years.
Gold demand will lag because of a higher goods and services tax (GST) on bullion purchases imposed in 2017 and measures to track gold purchases, he said.
In July, the GST on gold was raised to 3 percent from 1.2 percent. India has also made it mandatory for customers to disclose their tax code, or Permanent Account Number, for high-value gold purchases.
The government moves have disrupted the business of the small jewelers that account for nearly two-thirds of India’s total sales, Somasundaram said.
“More changes are coming in like hallmarking, responsible gold sourcing, all this will continue to disrupt the industry ... It will take two years for India to reach normal demand level,” he said.
Gold is a mainstay of Indian culture, serving as the primary vehicle for household savings for hundreds of millions of people in Asia’s third-largest economy.
Gold demand in the country rose 9 percent in 2017 from 2016 to 726.9 tons as jewelry demand increased 12 percent from a year ago, the WGC said in a report published on Tuesday.
India’s imports of gold ore jumped 73 percent in 2017 from the year before to a record 245.7 tons as the import tax on the semi-pure alloy made by miners is 0.65-percent lower than on refined gold, Somasundaram said.
Dore imports will remain robust even in 2018 due to the duty difference and huge installed refining capacity of 1,450 tons, he said.
Gold smuggling in India has surged since India raised its import duty to 10 percent in August, 2013 in an effort to narrow a gaping current account deficit.
Smugglers brought around 120 tons of gold into the country in 2017, with nearly the same amount expected in 2018 unless the government reduces the import tax, Somasundaram said.


‘Saudi Inc’ author says no shows won’t dent KSA investment appeal

Updated 23 October 2018
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‘Saudi Inc’ author says no shows won’t dent KSA investment appeal

  • Ellen Wald said there was an element of symbolism in the decision by some executives not to attend the Future Investment Initiative
  • Wald also said that the absence of many big name investors from the US and Europe might hand an advantage to other potential business partners

RIYADH: An American expert on US-Saudi business affairs believes that the withdrawal of some senior business leaders from the investment conference that opens in Riyadh today does not reflect the Kingdom’s commercial attractions.
Ellen Wald, president of the Transversal Consulting think-tank and author of the recent book “Saudi Inc,” told Arab News that there was an element of symbolism in the decision by some executives not to attend the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital, and that many business people were still looking to do business there.
“I think the big pull out of CEOs is not really reflective of the corporate interest in the Kingdom because we see them sending their next level of executives along. So to some degree it (the CEO pullout) is symbolic. I think what they experience here this week will have an effect,” she said.
Wald also said that the absence of many big name investors from the US and Europe might hand an advantage to potential business partners in other parts of the world.
“In terms of attracting foreign investment, Saudi Arabia could have strategic leverage with Russia and China, and a unique opportunity to work on cutting edge technolgies,” she said.
Wald was speaking at an event organized by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center to discuss her book. She said that Saudi Arabia had a greater need for technology and know-how than for cash investment.
“With regard to foreign investment, it is not about extracting money, but about extracting expertise. The Saudi model has been to hire outside industrial talent, for example the Public Investment Fund and its cinema partner AMC. They are buying expertise in the same way that the Saudis bought in expertise with Aramco, all those years ago. Eventually they (PIF) will buy the cinemas out or bring in somebody else to run them,” she added.