India’s gold imports, which have a bearing on the country’s current account deficit (CAD), increased 26.7 per cent to $35.95 billion during the April-December of this fiscal due to healthy demand, according to government data.
Photograph: Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters
The imports stood at $28.4 billion during the same period a year ago.
In December 2023, imports of the precious metal jumped by 156.5 per cent to $3 billion, as per the data released by the commerce ministry.
Switzerland is the largest source of gold imports, with about 41 per cent share, followed by UAE (about 13 per cent) and South Africa (about 10 per cent). The precious metal accounts for over 5 per cent of the country’s total imports.
At present, there is a 15 per cent import duty on gold.
Despite the increase in gold imports, the country’s trade deficit (difference between imports and exports) narrowed to $188.02 billion in the first three-quarters of this fiscal against $212.34 billion in April-December 2022.
India is the world’s second-biggest gold consumer after China.
The imports mainly take care of the demand by the jewellery industry.
The gems and jewellery exports during the period dipped by 16.16 per cent to $24.3 billion.
India’s current account deficit declined sharply to 1 per cent of the GDP or $8.3 billion in the second quarter of this financial year, mainly due to lower merchandise trade deficit and growth in services exports, according to RBI data released on December 26 last year.
A current account deficit occurs when the value of goods and services imported and other payments exceeds the value of the export of goods and services and other receipts by a country in a particular period.