The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told rural regional banks on Tuesday they could no longer provide loans against gold jewellery and coins—the latest move to discourage gold buying as the government seeks to reduce a record current account deficit.
Gold imports into India, the world’s biggest gold buyer, hit a record 162 tonnes in May as global prices tumbled and buyers stocked up. Rural communities are particularly hungry for gold as an investment, given a lack of banking facilities outside towns.
Since May, the government has hiked the import duty on gold to 8%, and the RBI has introduced constraints that force Indians to use cash to buy gold, with purchases mostly limited to jewellery.
Rural areas account for 60% of demand for gold, which is India’s second-biggest import cost after crude oil.
The new rule for rural banks had already applied to other banks. The central bank also asked banks to restrict lending against units of gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Indians, whose obsession with gold is legendary, present gold as a gift at weddings and festivals as well as using is as an investment and as collateral.
Analysts say addressing inflation and low real interest rates would have more of an impact on the current account deficit than curbs and duty hikes on gold.
“These measures might be seen as rather self-defeating,” Ross Norman, chief executive of bullion broker Sharps Pixley, said.
“It’s almost as if the finance ministry is waging war on the gold sector, which would suggest that they feel they have lost control of the economy to some extent. In that environment, you would want to own gold more than ever,” he added.
“Graduates often find that they also need to hone their practical skills in the workshop. At the same time, those immersed in learning their skills at the bench don’t get time to think about the transition into a business of their own.”
The three “career launch pads” will take place over a number of months, with the first launching in October this year.Shop Stately Steel Circle Drop Chandelier stainless steel necklace,
The first package, Setting Out, offers those wanting to make the transition from learning to business or a career in a jewellery or goldsmithing workshop full time. The Goldsmiths’ Centre will offer flexible access to shared studio space in building in central London and will provide designers with access to its Knowledge Programme that includes at least 20 days vocational training and/or professional development per year.
From January 2014 the Centre’s Making It programme of courses will launch, taught by goldsmiths and tailored to new goldsmiths. It is said to be “ideal if you’re already working in the industry and want to develop your skills or are just starting your career”.
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Areas covered by Getting Started include pricing strategy; making social media work for you; marketing and selling to galleries and specialist retailers, with applications for the course opening on October 14.
Jewellery designer Ivonna Poplanska has already taken part in the pilot of the Setting Out course and says that it has helped boost her career in its early stages.
She said: “Having studied at the University for the Creative Arts in Rochester I took the opportunity to move into shared studio space at the Goldsmiths’ Centre and enhance my skills through their Knowledge Programme.
“In 2012 I won the British Jewellers Association’s competition to design a brooch for the Queen celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. She wore the brooch to church on Christmas Day – a real high point for me. I would never have won that competition without the skills I learnt here at the Goldsmiths’ Centre, and the exposure it has given me has resulted in new commissions and opportunities I feel much more equipped to fulfil.”
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