...perhaps this is part of the answer?

No gold import; India's March gold export at 9 tons

MUMBAI: All these years, India prided itself as the world’s biggest gold importer. But it looks as countries like China are going to overtake India in the import of gold, India in turn is turning an exporter of gold.

According to the Bombay Bullion Association, India managed to export about 9 tonnes of gold coins in February and March. "India's domestic gold prices were about 3 to 4 percent lower than the import cost. So some of the traders bought gold from the local markets and converted them into coins and exported it," the Association said.

The Reserve bank of India restricts gold exports by traders in bullion market as its impacts the partially convertible rupee.

Last week, the Association reported that for a second month in row, India imported no gold, even though the country is the world’s largest consumer of the yellow metal.

”Part from high gold prices, people seem to have pushed forward their plans to purchase jewellery due to the growing uncertainty in global and Indian markets which has led to large scale retrenchments across sectors,” says economic analyst Manasee S. Gokhale who works with India’s second largest commodity bourse the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange.

He said March has been the second month where not a single tonne of gold has been imported in March against the 21 tonnes of gold imports during the same period last year.

Imports of the yellow metal to India—the largest consumer and importers of gold in the world—are all set plunge to the lowest levels for the decade in 2009.

In 2008, India’s gold imports dipped by 45 per cent to touch 450 tons. Bullion analysts have already predicted earlier this month that if gold imports continue to be sluggish, India’s gold imports will fall 380 tonnes in 2009.

”Gold imports are plunging thanks to the economic conditions that India is finding in these days. We expect overall imports below 380 tonnes for 2009," Vishal Patel, sales trader, India and Middle East, Commerzbank International, had told Commodity Online early this month.

Analysts like Patel and the Bombay Bullion Association (BBA) said that for the first time in this decade, gold imports to India are going to take a big hit...