gold, prices, import duty, budget 2017, tbz, titan
A model poses with gold jewellery during a jewellery show in Kolkata November 1, 2007 (representational image).Reuters file

Shares of gold companies such as Titan, TBZ and PC Jeweller were trading with losses on Thursday despite the buzz that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may reduce the import duty on gold from the current 10 percent while presenting Budget 2017. PC Jeweller was down 0.82 percent at Rs 376, Titan was trading 0.88 percent lower at Rs 316, while Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri (TBZ) was down 2.15 percent down to Rs 61. 

Business news channel CNBC-TV18 had quoted agencies to say that the Modi government could take such a decision. 

A series of developments, starting with the re-instatement of an excise levy, norms on gold purchases above a threshold, global uncertainty and finally demonetisation have led to subdued demand for the yellow metal for most part of 2016. 

In October and November this year, gold imports picked up momentum after many months of decline.

Gold imports by India during the April-November 2016 period registered a significant decline, according to government data. In the first eight months of the financial year 2016-17, gold imports into India dropped by $6.9 billion, or 30.5 percent, to $15.72 billion from $22.62 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Gold demand for the three months ended September 2016 was estimated at 194.8 tonnes, down 28.2 percent from 271.2 tonnes in the quarter ended September 2015, according to World Gold Council (WGC).

As is known by now, Budget 2017 is likely to be presented on February 1 this year, in a departure from years of convention when the annual forward-looking document used to be presented on the last working day of February every year. 

This year's budget will also incorporate provisions pertaining to Indian Railways since the government has decided to do away with a separate budget for the rail network. Suresh Prabhu is India's railway minister.

Industry watchers, people, investors and analysts, apart from politicians would be keenly tracking Budget 2017 as it comes in the backdrop of a significant development called demonetisation that is being seen as weakening growth in the world's fastest-growing economy.