Gold imports which have a bearing on the current account deficit, fell 40% to $12.3 billion during April-November, according to data from the commerce ministry. The fall in imports is largely due to a decline in demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic and high gold prices.
Imports of the yellow metal stood at $20.6 billion in the corresponding period of 2019-20.
The imports, however, recorded a year-on-year growth of 2.65% in November to $3 billion. Silver imports during April-November 2020 too dipped 65.7% to about $752 million.
The decline in gold and silver imports has helped in narrowing the country's trade deficit (the difference between imports and exports) to $42 billion during April-November 2020-21 as against $113.42 billion in the year-ago period. India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to the demand of the jewellery industry. In volume terms, the country imports 800-900 tonne of gold annually.
Gems and jewellery exports declined by 44% to $14.30 billion during the first eight months of the current fiscal.