Here's how desperate Indian traders are for gold
Besides smuggling gold bars in airplane toilets, Indians have found another way to satisfy their appetites for the precious metal: According to Reuters, non-resident Indians are helping alleviate scarcities of the yellow metal by bringing with them the permitted 1kg when they enter the country.
In many cases, traders are paying the airfare of these people in exchange for providing the coveted goods.
India has severely restricted gold imports this year due to the metal's impact on the country's current account deficit (CAD). Gold duties have reached a record 10% alongside a series of import restrictions.
And there doesn't appear to be an end in sight: Last week the country's central bank announced that it would maintain these measures until it felt "more comfortable" with the CAD.
Meanwhile, Indians have been paying a premium on gold – $30 an ounce above the London fix price, as reported earlier this month.
According to the rules, non-residents (NRIs) who have been abroad for more than six months can bring in 1kg of gold and pay the import duty.
Reuters writes that in the midst of this wedding season the gold supply is so low that some traders have been paying passengers' air fares if they agree to bring in the precious metal.
"To take advantage of high premiums, agents have been increasingly successful in scouting for NRIs, and pay for their partial or full air fare," an analyst with Thomson Reuters GFMS told Reuters.
So far this month about 80kg of gold has come in through non-residents, an airport official told Reuters.