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Jewellery exporters can avail credit to import gold: RBI

NEW DELHI: RBI today said jewellery exporters will be permitted to avail loans from banks and other institutions to import gold, a move which is aimed at encouraging exports.

The Reserve Bank, however, directed banks to ensure that 
bank credit is not available to entities which do not export jewellery export business.

"Import of 
gold on loan basis may, however, continue to be allowed since the scheme envisages that the nominated banks/nominated agencies can import gold on loan basis for on-lending only to the exporters of jewellery in sync with the non-applicability of the above restrictions to exporters of gold jewellery," RBI said in a statement.

Earlier this month, RBI banned import of gold by domestic consumers through bank credit and said any import order should be backed with 100 per cent margin money.

The move, dealers had said, would hurt the retail jewellery trade and encourage smuggling.

Gold and 
silver imports rose nearly 90 per cent to $ 8.4 billion in May. Cumulatively, in April-May the import of precious metals stood at $ 15.88 billion.

Gold import has been a major cause of worry as it widens the Current Account Deficit, which occurs when total imports of goods, services and transfers is greater than the exports.

The 
CAD reached a record high of 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2012-13 on widening of trade deficit.

A large CAD also puts pressure on the currency. The 
rupee fell to a record low of 60.76 against dollar yesterday.

The government has hiked import duty on gold three times in a year and recently raised it by 2 per cent to 8 per cent to curb demand.

Earlier, on May 13, RBI had restricted gold imports on consignment basis by banks.