Risk averse gold traders on edge as Modi fights ‘black money’

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Some Indian gold traders are placing bulk, short-term import orders on fears that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might soon add curbs on overseas purchases of the metal to his withdrawal of high-denomination banknotes in his fight against ‘black money’, traders and jewellers said.

India is the world’s second biggest gold buyer, and it is estimated that one-third of its annual demand of up to 1,000 tonnes is paid for in black money – untaxed funds held in secret by citizens in cash that don’t appear in any official accounts.

Modi has said he may not stop at the shock currency move that has led to a massive cash shortage, but has not made clear what his next step would be in his drive to uncover the wealth. That uncertainty is likely to create sharp swings in purchases, affecting world prices.

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