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MUMBAI: India has raised the import duties on gold and other precious metals to 12.5% from 10%, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her first federal budget speech on Friday, which may boost smuggling in the world's second-biggest bullion consumer.

Shares of jewellery makers such as Titan and PC Jeweller fell as much as 5% after the announcement.

Jewellery trade associations have asked India's government to reduce gold import duties, which has caused a surge in smuggling.

India, which vies with China as the world's top gold consumer, raised import taxes on the metal to 10% in a series of hikes to August 2013 as policymakers attempted to narrow a gaping current account deficit and arrest a decline in the rupee.

Copyright Reuters, 2019