Mumbai– India’s gold demand was 9 per cent lower in 2019, at 690 tonne, primarily owing to the sharp surge in prices, however, it is expected to rebound in 2020, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Thursday.

The council said India’s gold demand will be in the range of 700-800 tonnes in 2020 from 690 tonnes in 2019.

“Looking ahead, 2020 we expect policy-led and industry-led initiatives to bring a marked shift in making the industry more transparent and organised,” said Somasundaram PR, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council.

He added that the government has already made hallmarking mandatory on January 15, 2020 with a transition period of one year for the trade to sell or change its existing non hallmarked inventory.

“This is an overdue reform and a positive step towards making the Indian gold more trustworthy. These and other changes to follow are significantly positive for the long-term sustainability of demand, especially for the compliant and the organised,” Somasundaram added.

However, the report said that short-term challenges remain as large sections of the industry compete on low margins and fear tax uncertainty, leaving little incentive for long term investments and modern trade practices.

Globally, WGC said that Gold demand fell 1 per cent in 2019 as a huge rise in investment flows into ETFs and similar products was matched by the price-driven slump in consumer demand.

Besides, the central bank net purchases in 2019 were remarkable the report said. The annual total of 650.3 tonne is the second highest level of annual purchases for 50 years.

In total, 15 central banks increased their gold reserves by at least one tonne in 2019.

Demand was exclusive to emerging market central banks looking to bolster and diversify their overall reserve, WGC said. (IANS)