I had the chance this week to reconnect with Vishal Vyas, head of operations at one of India’s top bullion dealers, Pushpak Bullions Pvt. Ltd.

It was a powerful conversation, as Vishal indicated that the Indian Government and Central Bank are now stepping back in their fight against gold, allowing select bullion & jewelry merchants to import the metal on a highly controlled basis. This loosening of policy according to Vishal, isn’t eliminating market bottlenecks, but to a certain extent, is reducing domestic premiums.

Commenting on the Indian government’s newly adjusted import policy, Vishal noted that, “In the last month the central bank and the finance ministry has permitted imports of gold into India. They have considered a new scheme which is called 80/20, that is applicable for all gold which is imported in India, where 80% of the stock imported can be used for domestic purposes, [but] 20% has to be re-exported, that would be the obligation.”

An interesting element of the new import scheme according to Vishal, is that, “There are a lot of procedures to go through. It is not very easy to procure gold under this scheme. Everything is being [inspected] about the business—past performance, whether it has an export portfolio, whether they have [pre-established] clients who can buy the jewelry. So after considering [these rules], there are only three nationalized banks and one private bank who are now active, or are allowed to import gold.”

“So yes, they have relaxed the import curb,” Vishal continued, “but it’s still a bottleneck. Everybody can’t pass through it together. Whenever there are consignments (shipments) available…say half a ton or 300-400 kilos, the premium comes down…but otherwise again, the premium will go higher…because there is not a constant supply. There are tight supplies.”  

Chart: Surge in 2013 premiums on Indian bullion & jewelry products

(click to enlarge)

When asked his thoughts on reports of Indian consumers switching to silver in response to high gold premiums, Vishal concluded that, “I personally feel that silver has become the poor man’s gold for investment, for short-term investment especially…[and] people have shifted to silver up to a certain extent, but gold is gold. Overall demand cannot come down. Now is the festive season where people will start buying gold in the form of jewelry. So by the end of December, all jewelers will need gold to replenish their original stock and get new jewelry manufactured, because there will be huge sales happening in this wedding season.” 

 

This was another powerful interview conducted during a historic time for the Indian gold market. It is required listening for precious metals investors and serious market students.

To listen to the interview, left click the following link and/or right click and “save target as” or “save link as” to to your desktop:

>>Interview with Vishal Vyas (MP3)

To learn more about Pushpak Bullions, visit: PushpakBullions.com

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Thanks,
Tekoa Da Silva
Bull Market Thinking