Gold imports have declined by over 15 per cent to 28.8 tonnes during February compared to the previous month following slight recovery in prices and slowdown in demand due to the current off season.

The imports of the yellow metal stood at 34 tonnes in January, according to data given by the Bombay Bullion Association.

According to experts, gold prices had recovered marginally during February compared to the previous month, negatively affecting the shipments. Imports also fell due to low demand in the absence of any major trigger in the current off season.

In January, gold had closed at USD 1,079.20 an ounce (28.34 grams) against USD 1116.70 an ounce in the global markets in February due to weakness in dollar.

Similarly, in the domestic market the precious metal had closed at Rs. 16,200 per 10 grams in February, compared to Rs. 16,772 in January.

In January, gold import had surged as prices ruled at Rs. 16,500-17,000 levels, after touching a record of Rs. 18,500 per 10 grams level in December 2009, Bombay Bullion Association Director Hundia said.

The buying season will begin from April with onset of wedding season and Akshaya Tritiya which will be celebrated on May 16.

Currently, the yellow metal ruled at USD 1,097.30 an ounce in the international market. On the MCX, gold for April contract ruled at Rs. 16,301 per 10 grams.

In the spot markets of Delhi, the precious metal today was trading at Rs. 16,485 per 10 grams.

In February 2009 India, the world’s biggest gold importer, had not shipped in the precious metal as demand slumped due to record high prices.

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