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India’s gold demand falls by 12% to 115.6 ton in Q1: WGC

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Mumbai:The gold demand in India declined by 12 per cent in the first quarter of this year to 115.6 tonne compared to the same period last year due to high local gold price, the World Gold Council (WGC) said in a report.

The total demand stood at 131.2 tonne in the January- March period in 2017, WGC said in its ‘Gold Demand Trends’ report for Q1 2018.

In terms of value, the gold demand fell by 8 per cent to Rs 31,800 crore, compared to Rs 34,440 crore in the same period of 2017.

 

“The decline in demand can be attributed to a number of reasons, including the rising local gold prices, a substantial drop in the number of auspicious wedding days during the period compared to the previous year, and anticipation of an import duty cut in the Union Budget,” WGC, India, Managing Director P R Somasundaram told PTI here.

“The transition to GST, especially by the unorganised sector, also affected demand to a certain extent,” he said.

Also, the trade sentiment was subdued following the (PNB) bank scam, which continued till ‘Akshaya Tritiya’, he added.

The jewellery demand in India for the first quarter dipped by 12 per cent to 87.7 tonne, compared to 99.2 tonne in the same period of 2017.

In value terms, the jewellery demand during the period dropped by 7 per cent to Rs 24,130 crore, from Rs 26,050 crore in the corresponding period last year.

The total investment demand for January-March was down by 13 per cent at 27.9 tonne against 32 tonne in the same quarter last year.

In value terms, the gold investment demand in the first quarter of this year was Rs 7,660 crore, a fall of 9 per cent from same period of 2017, which stood at Rs 8,390 crore.

The total gold recycled in India also declined by 3 per cent during the first quarter of 2018, to 14.1 tonne from 14.5 tonne in the same period of 2017.

“The first quarter in India is not naturally a dynamic period for gold as people usually settle their other financial commitments for tax purposes. Moreover, there was also no catalyst like duty cut to trigger demand,”

Somasundaram said.

Meanwhile, the gold imports declined by 50 per cent in the first quarter of this year to 153 tonne compared to 260 tonne in the same period last year.

“The imports declined mainly on account of subdued consumer demand, down stocking following the GST transitional period and also on expectations of duty cut in budget,” he added.

Asked about imports this year, Somasundaram said the gold shipment into the country is likely to be on similar lines with demand.

For the full year of 2018, he said, the gold demand in India is expected to be in the range of 700”800 tonne.

“We are positive about the gold demand going forward due to expectation of better monsoon, higher rural income and overall GDP growth. The compliance standard is growing and in the long run its going to be positive and transform the industry,” he said. PTI


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RBI needs to ensure stability: Shaktikanta Das

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New Delhi: The head of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said he would take the steps necessary to maintain financial stability in the country and help create favourable conditions for growth.

India’s economy has grown because of measures such as the nationwide goods and services tax and the insolvency and bankruptcy code that prevents wilful defaulters from bidding for stressed assets, Shaktikanta Das said in his address to an investor roundtable.

The country’s growth story is backed by its strong domestic fundamentals, he said, citing lower inflation.

 

Annual retail inflation rate dropped to an 18-month low of 2.19 per cent in December, strengthening the views of some economists that the central bank could ease monetary policy next month.

India’s top business groups on Thursday urged the central bank to cut its benchmark interest rate by at least half a percentage point and lower the cash reserve ratio it imposes on banks.

The country also needs to watch out for any sudden turbulence in the gloal financial market, Das said.

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Centre removes two PNB executive directors for lapses in Rs 13,500-cr fraud

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Chennai:The Central government has removed two Punjab National Bank (PNB) Executive Directors — Sanjiv Sharan and K.Veera Brahmaji Rao — for the lapses in the Rs 13,500 crore fraud allegedly perpetrated by absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi.

The PNB has intimated the action to the stock exchanges.

“We welcome the Central government’s action to dismiss the two Executive Directors. The scam of such proportions could not have happened without the knowledge of the top management,” C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), told IANS.

 

“Perhaps for the first time, the Centra has removed the Executive Directors of a nationalised bank under the Nationalised Banks (Management and Miscellaneous Provision) Scheme, 1970. All these days it was said the top management of government-owned banks — Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Directors — are governed only by the contract of appointment.

“It is also good that the central government has followed the due process of giving the two PNB Executive Directors opportunity to put forth their views before dismissing them,” Venkatachalam added.

According to the Central government’s notification, on July 3, 2018, Sharan and Rao were issued a show cause notice as to why they could not be removed from office for having failed to exercise proper control over the functioning of PNB, thus enabling the fraud through the misuse of SWIFT at the bank’s Brady House branch in Mumbai.

After considering Sharan and Rao’s replies and the comments of the bank’s Board, the Centre removed them from office as it found it was expedient in the interests of PNB.

According to the notification, the dismissal of Rao is subject to the outcome of a plea in the Delhi High Court.

“We are happy to see some action being taken. Whether it is only the two Executive Directors and other officials are also involved in the scam has to be probed in full,” Venkatachalam said.

According to him, in the past, low-level officers would have been the scapegoats for such massive scams.

“With the action taken on the top management, people will be satisfied that public sector bank officials are answerable for their lapses,” Venkatachalam added.

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In this new world, data is the new wealth: Ambani

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Mumbai: Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps against ‘data colonisation’, specially by global corporations, stating that Indian data must be owned by Indians.

Invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s movement against political colonisation, Ambani said India now needs a new movement against data colonisation.

“Gandhiji led India’s movement against political colonisation. Today, we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonisation,” he said Gandhinagar at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.

 

Stressing that, in this new world, data is the new wealth, Ambani said, “India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people and not by corporate, especially global corporations.”

He further said, “For India to succeed in this data driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India. In other words, give Indian wealth back to every Indian.”

Stating that the “entire world has come to recognise” Modi “as a man of action”, Ambani said, “Honorable Prime Minister, am sure you will make this one of the principal goals of your digital India mission.”

Later in the day, countering Ambani’s call, Governor – Commonwealth of Kentucky, Matthew Griswold, asked Modi “to think in the opposite” in order to realise the tremendous opportunity that lies in Indo-US partnership.

“Honorable prime minister you have been asked from this stage to think about limiting the amount of competition, limiting the exchange of ideas, information and goods. I would encourage you to think in the opposite,” he said.

While stating that it is important to put the people of India first, Griswold said, “It is also important to put their opportunity and our opportunity as citizens of the world to trade with one another and exchange ideas because iron sharpens iron.”

The greatest possibility comes from the exchange of these idea, he added.

“If we can cut the regulations, cut the bureaucracy, cut the red tape, the opportunity is enormous between our nations,” he added that India is now the 10th largest trading partner for the US and “climbing quickly”.

“The opportunity before us between India and the United States is incredible, but responsibility falls on each of one us, those of us in elected positions, those of you in the industry, those of you who represent various constituencies, we have much work to do…we must do this, ” Griswold said.

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