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Gold Imports by India Surge to Record as Price Is `Not a Factor,' WGC Says

Gold imports by India, the biggest bullion consumer, likely reached a record last year driven by investment demand, according to the World Gold Council.

Purchases were about 800 metric tons, compared with 557 tons in 2009, Ajay Mitra, managing director for India and the Middle East at the producer-funded group, said today in a telephone interview from Dubai.

Imports at that level “would be the highest for India in its history,” he said. The group hasn’t released final data for 2010. Purchases in 2010 may exceed 750 tons, Mitra said Nov. 17.

Gold for immediate delivery rallied 30 percent last year to reach a record $1,431.25 an ounce on Dec. 7 as investors bought the metal as a protector of wealth. Demand for bullion as an investment in India surged 73 percent in the year ended Sept. 30, according to World Gold Council data. Purchases by the Asian country this year will remain “strong,” Mitra said.

“Price is no longer a factor,” he said.

Futures for delivery in February on the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. rose as much as 0.2 percent to 20,470 rupees ($453) per 10 grams in Mumbai. Prices reached an all-time high of 20,924 rupees on Dec. 7. Gold for immediate delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1,385.10 an ounce at 12:15 p.m. in Mumbai.

To contact the report on this story: Madelene Pearson in Mumbai at mpearson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@Bloomberg.net

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