Previously unreported details of the world’s second-largest consuming country’s import surge were disclosed to Reuters by a senior government official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The 2021 gold import bill easily doubled the $ 22 billion spent in 2020 and topped the previous record, set in 2011, of $ 53.9 billion, according to the official, who tracks major trends in imports. In terms of volume, India imported 1,050 tonnes of gold in 2021, the highest number in a decade, and well over 430 tonnes imported in 2020, the official said.
While global bullion prices have been supported by strong demand in India, spending on imports has reportedly added to the pressure on the country’s ailing rupee.
“Demand last year was strong as many weddings were postponed to 2021 from 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak,” said Harshad Ajmera, a gold wholesaler in Kolkata.
Authorities in India imposed strict closures during the first waves of the pandemic in 2020, meeting demand for gold during wedding season and key festivals such as Akshay Tritiya, when buying gold is considered good. augury.
Gold is considered an essential part of the bride’s dowry in India and is also a popular wedding gift.
Ajmera noted that a price correction made gold more affordable for retail consumers in India early last year.
Local gold prices hit a record high of 56,191 rupees per 10 grams in August 2020, but fell back to 43,320 rupees in March 2021, when monthly imports hit a record 177 tons.