LONDON Britain's Royal Mint has started to manufacture gold sovereign coins in India for the first time in almost 100 years, it said on Monday.
Indian residents have been unable to buy commemorative sovereigns since 1918, when the Royal Mint operated a branch in the country, producing 1.3 million coins in a single year.
The first production run will be for 50,000 pieces and will be available in the market immediately, the Royal Mint said in a statement that coincided with British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to India.
The commemorative sovereigns will be produced by Indian gold producer MMTC-PAMP using tools and techniques developed by the Royal Mint in its South Wales facility.
India is the largest consumer of gold, with gold coins playing a key role in wedding ceremonies and festival celebrations throughout the year.
The country's gold medal market is estimated at around 80 tonnes a year by consultancy Thomson Reuters GFMS.
(Reporting by Clara Denina; Editing by Anthony Barker)