New Delhi: India has emerged as the fourth largest country in global gold recycling, said World Gold Council in a report on Tuesday, adding that over the past five years 11 per cent of India's gold supply has been from "old gold."
The high recycling was driven by movements in the gold price, future gold price expectations, and the wider economic outlook. Recycling in India is a Rs 440 billion industry.
There are three major sources of gold recycling -- jewellery, manufacturing scrap, and end-of-life industrial scrap. Old jewellery scrap represents the largest source of recycling in India, with an approximate 85 per cent share of the total.
Industrial scrap is generated from end-of-life electronic products, such as printed circuit boards, mobile phones, connectors, and contact points. This industrial segment accounts for less than 5 per cent of the total Indian scrap supply.
"The industrial scrap market in India is largely unorganised and only a small proportion finds its way to refineries. This may be largely due to the fact that only a handful of Indian gold refineries have the capability to refine industrial scrap," the report said.
As India's demand for gold outpaces its domestic supply, demand is fulfilled by imports as well as from the locally recycled gold.
In 2021, India refined gold to the tune of 75 tonnes.
Going ahead, India's demand for gold shows no sign of abating and while demand outweighs supply, recycling will continue to be a key, the report said.
That said, gold recycling, however, faces headwinds.
"Anticipated growth in the Indian economy could mean higher incomes and less distress selling. And while fashion conscious consumers tend to keep their gold jewellery for shorter periods of time and are more confident of gold's value when they sell, refineries cannot always make use of this gold,"the report added.
Despite the gradual move towards a more structured and process-driven industry, the majority of India's gold recycling trade remains unorganized.
Three major reasons behind the recycling process remaining unorganized, as mentioned in the report, are the prevalence of cash transactions in the scrap market, logistical hurdles to scrap collection, and Goods and Service Tax (GST) loss on the sale of old gold.