Business Bureau :
India’s gold imports, which have a bearing on the current account deficit (CAD), dipped 9 per cent to USD 17.63 billion (about Rs 1.25 lakh crore) during April-October period of the current fiscal, according to Commerce Ministry data. Imports of the yellow metal stood at USD 19.4 billion in the same period of 2018-19. Dip in gold imports has helped in narrowing the country’s trade deficit to USD 94.72 billion during April-October period of 2019-20 as against USD 116.15 billion in the same period of previous fiscal. Gold imports had been recording a negative growth since July this year.
However, it grew by about 5 per cent to USD 1.84 billion in October. 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 tonnes of gold annually. To mitigate the negative impact of gold imports on trade deficit and CAD, the Government increased the import duty on gold to 12.5 per cent from 10 per cent in this year’s Budget. According to industry experts, businesses in the sector are shifting their manufacturing bases to neighbouring countries due to high duty.
The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) had asked for a cut in import duty to 4 per cent. Gems and jewellery exports declined by about 2 per cent to USD 18.3 billion in April-October this fiscal. The country’s gold imports dipped about 3 per cent in value terms to USD 32.8 billion during 2018-19.