"RBI's easing of 20:80 gold import norms is positive for the gems and jewellery industry. We expect this will be followed by reduction of the Customs duty to 4-5 percent from the current 10 per cent in the forthcoming Budget, resulting in declining of gold prices and (price) is likely to be at Rs 23,000-24,000 by Diwali," IBJA president Mohit Khamboj told reporters here.

The yellow metal is likely to be on par with the global prices as the premiums will also go down due to the positive steps taken by the government, he said.

"It will also reduce the gold inflow through the grey market," he said.

The RBI had on Wednesday eased gold import norms by allowing select trading houses, in addition to some banks, to procure the precious metal to boost exports.

In July last year RBI had imposed severe restrictions on gold imports to check burgeoning current account deficit and depreciating rupee.

Under the 20:80 scheme an importer has to ensure that at least one-fifth, or 20 percent, of every lot of imported gold is exclusively made available for the purpose of exports and the balance for domestic use.

(Agencies)

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