Mumbai — India’s gold imports may rise in the fourth quarter as investors seek alternatives to faltering equity markets and a plunging rupee. Traditional buying will also rise during the festival season, said several sources involved in the market. Increased buying by the world’s second-biggest gold consumer would support global prices that have traded near $1,200 an ounce since late August, but also widen India’s trade deficit and add to pressure on the Indian rupee, which fell to a record low on Wednesday.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, gold imports could rise 9% from a year ago to 250 tons, said Bachhraj Bamalwa, a bullion dealer who was formerly the chair of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation. "In the December quarter, festival demand would be robust. Investment demand is also gaining traction," he said. Demand for gold usually strengthens at the end of the year on purchases for traditional weddings and major festivals including Diwali and Dussehra, when bul...

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