Top Indian gold seller shuts shops as industry grinds to a halt
INTERNATIONAL - India’s jewelry industry has come to a standstill as the government locked down much of the country to try and stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Titan Co., the nation’s biggest jeweler by market value, has shut stores until March 29, it said in a statement. The company has also closed its manufacturing units for the week and will review the situation at the end of the period, it said.
Demand in India, the world’s second-biggest gold consumer, has already tumbled amid record domestic prices and a slowing economy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state leaders over the weekend imposed an almost-complete lockdown as cases of coronavirus spiked, a move that will probably further hurt growth that’s already set to slow to an 11-year low.
Concerns about the virus have seen the local gem and jewelry sector come to a standstill with virtually no footfall in stores and many jewelers shutting shops located in malls and shopping complexes, according to the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council. The industry is seeking an extension for repayment of loans and a reduction in the import tax on gold to 4% from the current 12.5%, it said.