India’s gold imports dropped to 39 tonnes in December, compared with 152 tonnes in November, as demand started easing after the peak festival season.
“On the basis of December and January performance, gold imports have not been a cause of worry,” Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said on Wednesday after a meeting with senior industry executives who have been demanding the scrapping of a 10% import duty on gold. The imports have touched seven tonnes so far in January, Kher added.
Fears about a sput in gold imports stoking trade imbalance intensified after purchases of the precious metal hit an 11-month high of 95.62 tonnes in September, followed by 109 tonnes in October. The imports rose further in November to scale their peak since May 2013, as jewellers sought to build inventory to cater for demand during the peak festival season.
Higher gold imports in November had pushed up trade deficit to one-and-a-half year high of $16.86 billion, while the current account deficit ,too, rose to 2.1% of the GDP during the July-September quarter, compared with 1.7% in the first quarter.