Gold imports, which have a bearing on the current account deficit, fell 40 per cent to USD 12.3 billion during April-November due to 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 USD 20.6 billion in the corresponding period of 2019-20.
The imports, however, recorded a year-on-year growth of 2.65 per cent in November to USD 3 billion. Silver imports during April-November 2020 too dipped 65.7 per cent to about USD 752 million.
The decline in gold and silver imports has helped in narrowing the country's trade deficit, difference between imports and exports, to USD 42 billion during April-November 2020-21 as against USD 113.42 billion in the year-ago period. India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to demand of jewellery industry. In volume terms, the country imports 800-900 tonne of gold annually.
Gems and jewellery exports declined by 44 per cent to USD 14.30 billion during the first eight months of the current fiscal.