India's gold imports plunge in April

As gold smuggling in India surges, official imports continue to wither.

According to trade figures revealed by the government at the end of last week gold imports declined over 74% to $1.75 billion in April, as compared to the same month a year ago, given the government's large scale import restrictions.

Imports of the precious metal were $6.78 billion in April last year.

Lower imports have helped narrow the country's trade deficit to $10 billion in the first month of the current fiscal. However, jewellers have been facing a severe scarcity of the precious metal given the lower imports by private banks.

"Until last year, India was the largest importer of gold. The metal is mainly utilised to meet the demand of the jewellery industry. Severe gold shortage in the market has ensured higher premiums for traders from official channels, with most being forced to accept gold from the unofficial channel," said Manikbhai Zaveri, a bullion trader.

India's gold imports plunge in April