Mumbai: Gold imports are unlikely to rise immediately as the spurt in demand on account of 21-day stir by bullion traders will be met by existing stocks, Bombay Bullion Association on Friday said.
"Jewellery manufacturing was completely stopped during the 21-day strike. Therefore, there is an inventory of 5-10 tonnes of gold, which will be used to fulfill the demand. So, we feel import is not likely to rise," Bombay Bullion Association President Prithivraj Kothari told here.
He further said it was too early to predict about the imports, which will also depend on gold prices.
The increased demand will create additional pressure on artisans as marriage and festival season is just kicking in, he said.
Jewellers on Friday called off the strike which began on March 17 to protest the budget proposal to levy excise duty on unbranded jewellery and hike in customs duty to four percent from two percent.
The strike is likely to impact gold imports during January-March. The imports are estimated to drop by 56 percent to 125 tonnes compared to the same period last year, Kothari said.
The gold imported during January-March 2011 was 283 tonnes and a total of 969 tonnes was imported in the same period in 2011, according to World Gold Council.
The jewellers have reportedly incurred a loss of about Rs 20,000 crore during the strike.
India is the world's largest importer and consumer of the precious metal.