Mumbai: Gold demand in India fell by 32 percent to 148.2 tonnes in July-September period of 2013 due to supply constraints and high inflation, global body WGC said Thursday.
Demand in the fourth quarter of this year is expected to be lower than 262 tonnes in the same period of the last year.
The overall demand for the whole of 2013, however, is likely to be 900 tonnes, higher than 860 tonnes in 2012.
Also, neighbouring China with an estimated demand of 1,000 tonnes may topple India as the world's top gold consumer.
"Supply constraints and high inflation resulted in decline in gold demand by 32 percent to 148.2 tonnes in third quarter of this year as compared to 219.1 tonnes in the same period last year," the World Gold Council (WGC) Managing Director (India) Somasundaram P R told reporters here.
Both gold jewellery and investment demand declined by 23 percent and 48 percent, respectively, in the third quarter of this year. Recycled gold almost doubled to 61.3 tonnes from 34 tonnes in the same period, the WGC report said.
Gold imports were only 85 tonnes in the third quarter against the demand of 148.2 tonnes for the same period last year, Somasundaram said.
"If this supply restrictions continue, the demand in the fourth quarter will be met through unofficial channel which has grown significantly," he said.
Somasundaram said that demand in the fourth quarter would be lower than the year-ago period despite higher purchases expected on account of wedding season and good monsoon.
Gold shipments have begun but are very slow and the total imports in the fourth quarter are likely to be higher than the third quarter, he added.
First Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013, 23:40