Gold continued its southward journey for the fourth straight session at the domestic bullion market due to reduced demand from jewellery stockists and retailers.
Elsewhere, silver took a major bearish hit and plunged below the Rs 36,000 mark on the back of frantic sell-off by speculative traders amid weak industrial buying.
Standard gold (99.5 purity) dropped by Rs 165 to end at Rs 26,000 per 10 grams against Friday’s level of Rs 26,165.
Pure gold (99.9 purity) also shed by a similar margin to close at Rs 26,150 per 10 grams, as against Rs 26,315.
Silver (.999 fineness) tanked by Rs 580 to finish at Rs 35,990 per kg, compared with Rs 36,570 yesterday.
Meanwhile, the government late on Friday unexpectedly scrapped the controversial 80:20 scheme, easing restrictions on gold imports that were originally put in place last year to curb ballooning current account deficit.
There are expectations that the RBI’s move would increase gold supplies and reduce prices for buyers in the domestic markets, a bullion trader commented.
On the global front, the yellow metal took a sharp plunge worldwide overnight following heavy funds selling spooked by sliding crude prices and also stronger dollar.
Investors’ caution ahead of an upcoming Swiss referendum on central bank gold reserves also weighed on sentiment.
December gold fell USD 21.40, or 1.8 per cent to settle at USD 1,175.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the NYMEX late yesterday, while silver tumbled 1.06 cents to end at USD 15.49 an ounce.