Gold imports to India, the world's biggest buyer of bullion, could fall to 550 tonnes next year, after touching 967 tonnes in 2011, as high inflation and prices bite into disposable incomes of consumers, the head of a trade body said on Tuesday.
"The demand for next year is expected to be about 550 tonnes. The demand may drop further if there is an increase in customs duty," Mohit Kamboj, the newly elected president of the Bombay Bullion Association, told Reuters Gold Forum.
Imports are already down again in 2012 from a year earlier.
However, the decline in gold imports in the December quarter could be limited to 20 percent as demand in the peak festival and wedding season offsets a larger fall, he said.