India’s gold imports bounced back to 1,067.72 tonnes in 2021 from 430.11 tonnes during 2020 when the demand was hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The gold imports in 2021 in terms of volume were up by 27.66 per cent from 836.38 tonnes during 2019.
In terms of value, India’s gold imports, which have a bearing on the country’s current account deficit (CAD), rose by 33.34 per cent to $ 46.14 billion during the 2021-22 fiscal on account of higher demand, according to official data. Gold imports were worth $ 34.62 billion in 2020-21.
The maximum quantity of gold was imported from Switzerland at 469.66 tonnes, followed by UAE (120.16 tonnes), South Africa (71.68 tonnes) and Guinea (58.72 tonnes) in 2021, it added. Along with China, India is by far the world’s largest importer and consumer of gold.
The surge in gold imports during the last financial year contributed to the widening of the trade deficit to $ 192.41 billion, against $ 102.62 billion in 2020-21. Import of gold is largely driven by India’s jewellery industry. The gems and jewellery exports during 2021-22 grew by about 50 per cent to about $ 39 billion.
India’s gold imports is slowly reaching pre-pandemic levels. The quantity of gold imported in 2021 is comparable to gold imports of 1,047 tonnes in 2015 and 1,032 tonnes in 2017, In the case of exports, gold jewellery shipments from India rose by 50 per cent to $ 8.8 billion in 2021 on a sharp rise in demand for studded gold jewellery. The country had exported gold jewellery valuing $ 5.8 billion in the previous year. According to Gems and Jewellery Exports Promotion Council (GJEPC), the industry is witnessing a surge in exports and domestic sales of gold jewellery (plain and studded) post-pandemic.