India’s Gold Import Bill in 2021 Stands at $55.7 Billion

The gold import bill stood at $22 billion in 2020; it has easily doubled in 2021 and stood at $55.7 billion. The 2021 gold import bill has even crossed the previous high of $53.9 billion set in 2011. In terms of volume, in 2021, India has imported nearly 1,050 tonnes of gold, the highest so far in a decade. In 2020, India had imported more than 430 tonnes of gold.

The demand for gold increased in the last year as many weddings were pushed to 2021 from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the government authorities levied strict lockdowns during the pandemic’s first wave in 2020, the demand for gold hit the peak during the wedding season and festivals such as Dhanteras, also known as Akshay Tritiya, during which buying gold is considered auspicious.

In August 2020, local gold prices hit a record price of Rs 56,191 per 10 grams; but in March 2021, the price dipped to 43,320 rupees, when monthly imports increased to a record 177 tonnes. In December 2021, India imported 86 tonnes of gold, marginally more than 84 tonnes imported in 2020.

Gold imports could dwindle in January as the COVID-19 cases are again increasing, and this could further prompt local authorities to enforce more restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. With the COVID-19 cases multiplying rapidly, jewellers have already started to reduce their purchases with the fear of uncertain lockdowns, which could again be a norm we saw in 2020.

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