Gold imports, which have a bearing on the current account deficit (CAD), dived by 94 per cent to $ 688 million (about Rs 5,160 crore) during the first quarter of 2020-21 due to a significant fall in demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the Commerce Ministry
Imports of the yellow metal stood at $ 11.5 billion (about Rs 86,250 crore) in the corresponding period of 2019-20. Similarly, silver imports during the quarter too dipped 45 per cent to $ 575 million (about Rs 4,300 crore).
The decline in gold and silver imports has helped narrow the country’s trade deficit, difference between imports and exports, to $ 9.12 billion during April-June 2020-21 against $ 45.96 billion in the year-ago period.
Due to narrowing of trade deficit, India recorded a current account surplus of $ 0.6 billion or 0.1 per cent of GDP for January-March quarter against a deficit of $ 4.6 billion or 0.7 per cent of GDP in the year-ago period, the Reserve Bank of India said.
Gold imports have been recording a negative growth since December last year. The fall in March, April, May and June was to the tune of 62.6 per cent, 99.93 per cent, 98.4 per cent and 77.5 per cent, respectively
India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to demand of jewellery industry. In volume terms, the country imports 800-900 tonnes of gold annually. Gems and jewellery exports declined by about 72 per cent to $ 2.7 billion in April-June 2020.